Easy Crusty Bread
This is an easy if not quick bread recipe that you can make in a stand mixer with a dough hook. The secret to making this bread so flavourful is the long initial fermentation (12-18 hours) so it does require some planning. The crusty exterior is achieved by baking the bread in a covered enamelled cast iron pot (I use Le Creuset) because this keeps all the steam in and makes the outside so nice and crusty. The colour is achieved by finishing the baking with the lid off for the last 15-20 minutes of the bake. I would venture to say it’s a no fail, easy to follow recipe. Even if the loaf looks a little different, it’s still delicious. If you want to be adventurous try adding something to the dough before shaping: olives (no pit), cheese, herbs, seeds, nuts etc.
This is based on Jim Lehey no-knead bread but I adapted it to kneading with a mixer. if you want the no knead method see here.
Easy Crusty Bread
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups water
2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
- Place flour, yeast and salt in a bowl and mix.
- Add yeast and salt and stir.
- Add the water and mix with a wooden spoon until the flour is wet throughout.
- Cover the bowl and leave to ferment overnight.
- When you are ready to proceed (the next day) scrape the dough into the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook.
- Begin kneading at low speed, adding just enough flour so the dough forms a ball.
- Raise the speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough clears the sides of the mixer bowl, add just enough flour as needed, not too much.
- When the dough is ready scrape it onto a floured work surface and knead by hand a couple of minutes so it’s nice and elastic.
- Place in a well floured bowl and let rise until doubled (you can skip this rise if you want and go straight to shaping).
- Remove dough from the bowl and shape into a round loaf tucking it underneath to create some surface tension on top.
- Place in a well floured banneton basket, cover with a damp towel and let rise until doubled.
- About 45 minutes before you are ready to bake place an enamelled cast iron pot in the oven (no lid) and heat to 450F.
- When ready to bake remove hot enamelled cast iron pot from the oven and set on the counter. Careful as it is very very hot.
- Carefully lift the dough out of the banneton and place on a sheet of parchment.
- Lift the parchment by the corners and place the bread dough into the hot pot.
- Cover with a lid and bake at 450F for 30 minutes.
- Remove lid and finish baking another 15 minutes. Bread should be dark golden and crisp. Bake it longer to get the dark crust.
- Carefully remove to a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes before slicing.