Thursday, November 8, 2012

Crusty, Fresh-baked Bread

So...I was searching for a rustic round bread recipe, most of the recipes I found said to let the dough sit in the refrigerator overnight (actually you can let this sit overnight too).  I didn't have time for that...because I needed wanted to make it for dinner THAT night.  I found this recipe over at In the Crossroads.  It was exactly what I was looking for.  Quick(well...not really quick, but not overnight), easy and delicious!!

Rustic Round Bread

3 cups of water 
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Coarse Salt 
1 /1/2 Tablespoons of Yeast (2 packets) 
1-2 Tbs. honey 
6 1/2 cups of all purpose flour 
cornmeal to dust baking dish
Flour to dust dough ball

Directions:  Add yeast and honey to warm water and let sit until foamy...just a minute or two.  Add the flour and salt and mix.  You can mix by spoon in a bowl...or I use my Kitchen-aid with the dough hook or my Bosch.

Shake some extra flour out on the counter. To knead the dough, dump it out onto a clean, floured counter top.  Knead for around 5 minutes, pushing with the heel of your hand, then gathering the dough back into a lump.  Add a little flour at a time as needed if the dough is too sticky. Knead until the dough becomes one big mass; You will know when the dough is ready by poking it: if the dough bounces back, you’re all set.  OR...knead in your mixer for 5 or 6 minutes.

Place your dough into a clean oiled bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let sit in a warm place for about 2 hours. You can also let it rise overnight by putting it in the refrigerator, where it will rise more slowly.  You can even let the dough sit in the fridge for a couple of days, at which point it will begin to take on a slight sourdough taste.

Once your dough has at least doubled in size you are ready to form it into loaves.  Divide the dough into thirds. This is the only time you really handle the dough. You need to pull it down to form a ball, tucking all the ends in at the bottom. The ball should be semi smooth.

Now, sprinkle a dash of cornmeal on a baking sheet and place the dough on top. The corn meal keeps the bread from sticking. Allow to rise for about 40 minutes.  Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
Before putting the bread in the oven, dust the top with a bit of  flour and make some light slices into the dough for that artisan look. You can make the loaves any shape you like, although a larger loaf will take longer to bake

One final trick to a nice loaf of rustic bread is to make the crust crusty.  To achieve this, fill a second baking dish or a broiler pan with water and place it under the rack where your bread will go.  The steam from the water adds a nice crunch to the loaf.  Place your risen loaves in the oven, close the door, and bake for around 30 minutes to start.  The crust should have a dark brown color, and the loaves should sound hollow when you tap them.

Serve the bread sliced, plain, with seasoned olive oil, honey, or your favorite butter.
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  1. I love this recipe. My bread always looks like a "pop over" when I take it out of the oven though. What causes this? How can I avoid it?

    1. hmmm...I'm really not sure. Wish I could help, maybe someone else will comment with the answer:) Thanks for commenting, glad you enjoy it!


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