I would never believe that a good bread could be made from 3 ingredients.
But, I made it… in my kitchen… and it is a miracle.
All you need is:
- Fresh Flour
We’re gonna use some water too, but that’s not really an ingredient since you don’t have to grow it or buy it.
The flavor in this bread is due to the time spent on the kitchen counter. Yeast is a peculiar thing. It is alive. It is growing. It changes flavors depending on how long it hangs out and multiples before being baked.
Some breads get too yeasty and strong if they are allowed to rest unbaked for long periods of time.
This bread gets its flavor from yeast, so you want it to loiter on your counter and produce as much yeast as possible.
Combine water & yeast in bowl and set aside so the yeast can activate. When the mixture is foamy and bubbly it is ready to receive the dry ingredients (about 15 minutes).
While yeast is activating, mix flour & salt together in a separate bowl.
After yeast activates add flour mixture to the activated yeast mixture & give it a few stirs with a wooden spoon.
So not over stir this batter. You want weird, floury mess. This will be a wet, gooey dough with flour still not mixed in it. All the “unmixed parts” are going to contribute to the finished product
Cover in plastic wrap and let sit on your kitchen counter for hours. The longer this sits, the better it gets I try to let mine sit a minimum of 12 hours. This allows my dough to ripen before I bake it. You can also put this in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, return it to the counter and let it continue to ripen.
At the end of the day the dough will have doubled in size.
Now it’s time to shape your dough and let it rise. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Flour your hands. You may kneed this dough a few times (2 or 3) but you don’t want to over mix it.
Flour it just enough to handle. Shape into a ball pulling the dough around from the top around toward the bottom. This will stretch the dough and give you a smooth top. Don’t stretch the yeast too far or it will break. Working with yeast dough takes practice & you’ll eventually get the hang of it.
Don’t get too picky about the look of your loaf right now. It is going to double in size & then bake & will turn out just fine. If your bread doesn’t turn out looking as nice as you’d like, take comfort in that when it hits the dinner table it will be gone in 3 minutes. and no one will remember what it looked like anyway. 🙂
After you shape it into a ball, place on some parchment paper & cover. Let rise until doubled in size (1 – 1 & 1/2 hours).
15 minutes before baking, put your dutch oven & lid into the oven and turn it up to 350.
Place the dough ball (parchment paper & all) into the hot, dutch oven and put the lid on. You can use a spatula to move the risen dough into the dutch oven.
Be gentle, if you are too abrupt, your bread will fall. If your bread falls you will have to reshape it into a ball again & let it rise again…. which develops a rockin’ flavor – but will postpone your dinner another hour.
Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
Let the freshly-made, artisan bread cool on the counter before slicing. If you slice it when it is hot it will tear your bread.
Serve warm. It will be fabulous.
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