Nothing beats a chunk of bread with some lightly salted butter. It’s one of those things that our entire family loves. Since being laid up with cancer, I set out on a mission to master a great loaf of bread, and one that would not be labor intensive. Sure, I’ve nailed Lahey’s stecca recipe and for the most part they turn out really great, but I wanted to make something a bit more substantial, and something that would last a couple of days. Yes, my kids will take down a boule in a sitting if I let them. That’s what I love about this daily bread. Not only is it simple, but there is something about how rustic to it. This bread is great for sandwiches, tearing off chunks, and probably goes great with a glass of wine.
I’ve never been one to measure, but when it comes to baking, it is something that I think is a must. I use a digital scale for measuring things about, but like pizza dough and bread, I think there are factors that can impact the outcome. Temperature, flours, rise, etc. Don’t get frustrated if your first batch doesn’t work out, and keep trying.
Let’s get started.
- 1000 g bread flour, or all-purpose
- 720 g water, roughly 92 degree F
- 21 g of salt (I like to use kosher)
- 4 g active dry yeast
Four simple ingredients yields to boules and you will want to make another batch in a couple more days!
To a large mixing bowl, and I mean large as this is going to rise and double, if not more, in size. Add in the flour, and the water. Mix with your hands until the water is incorporated. Cover and set aside for about 30 minutes.
Next top the mixture with the salt and the yeast. Wet your hands slightly, and mix well, making sure all of that flour mixture eats up the salt and yeast.
Cover and place in a warm spot (I set my container on my kitchen table where the sun comes in). After 30 minutes, it’s time to fold the dough Take an edge and fold over the top of the dough. Repeat this process roughly four times. Cover, and place back onto the warm spot. About 40 minutes into that rest, fold again. The hard part is over! Cover, and let this rise for about 4-6 hours.
I start this process when I wake up, this way I have warm bread later that day.
Once the dough has risen, lay out flour on a work surface. I use a big old bread board. Plop the dough onto the floured surface, then divide the dough into two portions. Flour the top of each dough ball, then cover to let rest for about 30 minutes.
During this time, preheat your oven to 475 degrees. Yep, ripping hot. If you have a dutch oven, preheat that as well.
Shape the dough into a ball, cover with cheese (if using), then fold and reshape into a ball, turning it over seam side down.
Remove the dutch oven from the oven with your kitchen mits, and carefully place the dough, seam side down into the dutch oven. Cover, place back into the oven and cook for about 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, remove the lid, and cook another 15-20 minutes.
Remove onto a wire rack to let cool, then repeat with your second loaf.
Slice into that bad boy and enjoy!