Even though I’ve made it a few times now, homemade bread has always been something I put in the “do-able but time-consuming” category. It’s something I’ve conquered, but for the everyday- I don’t often have the energy to deal with making dinner as well as homemade bread on the side. Well- this recipe has truly changed my views on bread forever! It literally takes 5 minutes to prepare the dough, it sits out overnight, and bakes up in no-time.
It’s possible you’ve seen a version of this recipe before. My Mother-in-law made a couple different batches when we visited recently, and ever since I’ve had it on the brain. Where this concept actually originated? Who knows. I mean making bread from nothing but flour, yeast, salt and water must be an ancient concept right? Around the same time my MIL sent me her recipes, I found a great post on via Pintrest with a tutorial of almost the exact same recipe. I knew it was time to see how easy this bread actually was to make. Because really- how could this perfect golden, crusty bread be so simple? I’ve outlined the process below:
The four ingredients (flour, yeast, salt and water) are combined in a large bowl and simply stirred together.
No kneading is necessary, and the goal here is a messy, shaggy dough which is covered in plastic wrap, and left to sit on your counter overnight. (8-18 hours.)
After that time has passed, the dough will look puffy and bubbly, and will be a bit sticky to the touch.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and shape it into the ball.
After the oven (and dutch oven) have pre-heated- in the bread dough goes- to bake for 30 minutes covered and 15 minutes un-covered to crisp and brown the top. Covering your dutch oven while baking creates a steamy affect, which makes the inside perfectly soft while creating a perfect, golden, crust.
Right out of the oven- I mean come on… It’s that easy! There are many options for mix-ins and different flavorings with this recipe, and I promise to share any gems I discover along the way.
*No dutch oven? I’ve done a little research on the subject, and it seems to can still get crusty bread without one. Any heat-safe covered pot will do, as long as any handles/knobs are safe to be heated up to 450F. The cover is what really locks the steam in and creates the perfect texture. Here is a great forum about alternative options.
(One other method that my MIL also used, involves a steam bath on the bottom shelf while the bread bakes on a pizza stone or baking sheet. Put a broiler pan or baking dish in the oven while it’s preheating, and right before baking- carefully pour a cup of hot water into it. Shut the oven door quickly and let the steam do it’s thing!)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups luke-warm water
- 1-2 tsp sea salt
- ½-1 tsp yeast*
- In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt and yeast. Add the water and using a wooden spoon stir together until the mixture resembles a shaggy dough.
- Cover dough with a plastic wrap and let sit in room temperature for 8-18 hours. Dough will bubble up and rise.
- After dough is ready, preheat oven to 450 F.
- Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and with floured hands form the dough into a ball. Cover with the plastic wrap and let the dough rest.
- While dough is resting, put your dutch oven into the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
- After the 30 minutes are up carefully remove the dutch oven and with floured hands place the bread dough into it. (You can put a piece of parchment under it if your dutch oven doesn't have an enamel coating.)
- Replace the cover and bake for 30 minutes covered. Then remove the cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes uncovered. Bread will be golden, crusty and delicious!
I like salt a lot- I have added up to 3 teaspoons to this recipe and it's been great!
Recipe from my Mother-in-Law with lots of help from this post from Simply So Good.