Easiest. Bread. Ever.

Ever get tired of spending lots of money on good, crusty bread? Want to make it at home but you think you don’t have the equipment? Or you think it’s too labor intensive for you?
THIS. is the bread for you. And me. I love it. A lot. ❤ (Thank you Jim Lahey! Original recipe here)

Read on for the recipe and photos…

Ingredients

3 cups all purpose or bread flour (I used bread flour left over from the bagels)

1/4 tsp instant yeast

1 1/4 tsp salt

1 5/8 cup tepid water

Cornmeal or wheatbran for dusting

(Yea…that’s it ingredients-wise)

Directions

  • Combine ingredients in a large bowl. Stir until combined. The dough will be very sticky at this point.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature (ideally 70F) for 12 – 18 hours (yep – go to bed! or work! or play!)
  • The dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice (laziest/easiest kneading ever).
  • Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
  • Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball (this didn’t go so well for me – it stayed blob shape and there was no “seam” to be seen…).
  • Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal.
  • Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
  • At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic – seriously, these are the only things that can withstand that heat healthily) in oven as it heats.
  • When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven.
  • Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up (or just…generally blob shape up, down, all around).
  • Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.
  • Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned (mine took about 20 minutes).
  • Cool on a rack.
  • Enjoy warm, store in a dry, airtight place. Yields one 1 1/2 pound loaf.

This will DEFINITELY be making an appearance at my Thanksgiving table as well as becoming a staple for my kitchen (and my budget!).

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Comments
3 Responses to “Easiest. Bread. Ever.”
  1. Robyn says:

    Claire, this looks fantastic. Yum. I’m going to have to make it. Also, I’ve been thinking about making bagels for like a week and a half. We really must be on the same wavelength… maybe it just has something to do with being addicted to baking, etc. 😉

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