I discovered this bread about 5 years ago, via a colleague, via the New York Times, via probably some other genius who first invented it.
It is one of the easiest things you will ever make, the bread I point to when people look at me like I'm an alien when they discover I make bread from scratch. "See! Look how easy this is!," I say. And not easy like, If you cook this is easy, but easy like, If you're terrible at everything in the kitchen, you can still make this.
Heck, you don't even need a fancy stand mixer.
- 3 cups flour, I use 1 ½ cups bread flour and 1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 packet yeast
- Big pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- Olive oil
In a bowl, place flour, yeast and a big pinch of salt. Stir, then add warm water, mixing as you add. The dough should be loose but still come together to form a big ball. If not, add a bit more water to get it to stick together.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit overnight, or for at least 5 hours. This is great thing to make in the morning and then come home to at dinnertime.
When you're ready to cook, preheat the oven to 450 degrees and place a Dutch oven (or any large, ovenproof pot) with a lid in the oven. Place the dough on the counter and turn it over a couple of times onto itself; use some flour if it's sticky. Let it rest 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, open the oven, carefully remove the lid from the Dutch oven and place the bread inside. The Dutch oven will be really hot, which will create steam as the bread bakes. Bake for 30 minutes, then take the lid off and bake for another 15 or so.
Makes 1 loaf.