Not everyone has the time, or the inclination, to make homemade bread; but everyone loves it. If you are one of many who liked the idea of the easy baked-in-a-pot no-knead bread but didn't like the idea of hefting a really heavy pot when it's smoking hot, this method is for you.
If you have a pizza stone, great. If not, think about getting a Lodge Pro-Logic Cast Iron Pizza Pan instead. I've had mine for several years and use it like a pizza stone for both pizza and rustic loaves. It's much easier to get the dough on and off a flat surface than in and out of a deep pot.
This is so easy to make, you can stir up a batch every day if you like. We don't use quite that much bread usually, so I just start a batch every other day. It just sits on the counter, so you don't have to find space in your refrigerator for a big bowl.
Yes, it's easy, even foolproof; but more important, this is some seriously good bread. And it makes really great toast for breakfast or bruschetta or crostini.
My name is Jean, and I am a breadaholic! How much do you like bread? What kind? When?
Easy Artisan Bread - Foolproof Artisan Bread
(Makes one round 32-ounce/907-gram European-style boule)
4 1/2 dip-and-sweep cups (22.5 ounces/638 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 3/4 cups water, room temperature
1 Start dough 22 hours* before you plan to serve the bread. In large bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast. Add water and stir with dough whisk or large spoon until the dough just comes together into a sticky dough with no dry flour left in the bowl. Cover with lid or plastic wrap and let stand 18 hours* on countertop.
* If that doesn't suit your schedule, you can make that a couple hours less or more.
2 Line a rimless baking sheet (or a rimmed one turned upside down) with a square of parchment paper. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and press out lightly with your fingertips to a 10- to 12-inch square. Fold it in thirds, like a letter, then in thirds again. Round off the square, tucking edges under to form a ball. Place smooth side up on parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with a large clear bowl or, as I do, with a 10-inch-diameter cake dome. Or spray the dough lightly with cooking spray and cover lightly with a piece of plastic wrap. Let rise 1 1/2 hours. The dough will spread more than it will increase in height.
3 After an hour, place pizza stone or cast iron pizza pan on top shelf in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven and pizza stone or pan at 500 degrees for 30 minutes.
4 Using a lame (pronounced lahm), razor blade or very sharp knife, score the top of the loaf. Holding the blade straight, make each cut quickly and about 1/4-inch deep. You might have to make the cuts twice. I like a simple tic-tac-toe pattern (see photo above the recipe) or the pattern pictured below. If the blade seems to be dragging, wet it before each cut. Brush the dough with a little water.
Note: Check out Homemade Bread - A Roundup of 10 Favorite Yeast and Quick Breads.