Prep 30 mins
Cook 45 mins
Jim Lahey from NYC's Sullivan Street Bakery, says an 8-year-old could do it. It's simple, artisan, crusty, chewy, a little salty... does it get any better? Prep time does not include 14 - 20 hours rising time.
- In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
- Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
- Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
- At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
This was very very easy... I even messed up the timing and had to let the first rise = 25 hours. I added 1 tsp garlic powder, 2 tsp Penzey's Italian seasoning and 1 cup of shredded cheese to the original dough and it was wonderful. I'm not an experienced bread baker by any streeeeetch of the imagination and if this worked for me it will work for anyone! Please note this is a dense artisan-type loaf with a very crispy crunchy crust. Next time I think I'll go the sweet route and make an apricot-oat or cranberry orange. Thanks for posting!
I love this bread, it really was easy to make which is necessary for me because I'm not good at bread making. Due to the rising time, I prepared it before I went to bed so it would be done in time for dinner the next day. I served it with homemade Olive Garden Minestrone Soup.