Do you think computers, iPads, smartphones will ever have scratch ‘n sniff available? Perhaps “smell-a-vision,” “smell-a-phone,” “smell-a-computer?”
Oh how I wish you could SMELL this homemade rustic crusty bread!
And you know what is even better?!?!?! It is SOOOO simple!
I have been having bread-making envy from a couple of folks I know (ahem – Oh Rob and Nancy), who have been talking so much about baking bread, I couldn’t take it anymore – I HAD TO BAKE SOME BREAD!
But, alas, I am not a bread baker, so I searched for the simplest rustic crusty bread to start with – thinking – is there such a thing?!??
THERE IS! Thank you Mel – from Mel’s Kitchen Café for this amazing recipe that was apparently adapted from a New York Times article about “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day,” by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François (Thomas Dunne Books, 2007).
There are THREE ingredients. That’s it! Well – ok – four – if you count tap water.
It is simply:
- 1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast (equivalent of 2 envelopes)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 6 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
Talk about easy – talk about cheap!
This recipe does NOT require a mixer, does NOT require a bread machine, does NOT even required kneading. I was skeptical, but thought it was worth a try. I had time while I was doing other things to let it sit, so what the heck!
Here are the instructions I adapted from Mel:
- In a large bowl mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm water (about 100 degrees). Stir in flour, mixing until there are no dry patches. Dough will be quite loose. Cover lightly with a kitchen towel but don’t seal the bowl airtight. Let the dough rise at room temperature 2-5 hours until doubled.
- Divide the dough in half to form two loaves (or you can make 3-4 smaller round loaves if you prefer). Turn the dough in your hands to lightly stretch the surface, creating a rounded top and a lumpy bottom. Put the dough on floured baking stone, and let it rest for another 40 minutes at room temperature.
- After the dough has rested and is ready to bake, dust the dough lightly with flour, slash the top with serrated or very sharp knife three times, and sprinkle with a little bit of coarse sea salt if desired.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place a broiler pan on the bottom rack of the oven. Pour one cup of hot water into the pan and shut the oven quickly to trap the steam.
- Bake the bread until well browned and it sounds a bit “hollow” when you knock on it – about 20-28 minutes depending on your oven. (Mine is an electric convection oven and only took about 20 minutes.)
- Slice when cooled and ENJOY!
We enjoyed ours for Sunday dinner with spicy sausage stuffed banana peppers from my garden. It was perfect for cutting the heat and soaking up the juice.
I think I’ll be baking some more of this soon, and maybe branching out to try some others.
Homemade bread that is easy and inexpensive, has no preservatives, and tastes OUT OF THIS WORLD!
You are going to want to try this!
Cheers & Hugs,