Easiest Crusty Bread Ever
The pot I use is called a Lodge Dutch Oven. You can use a dutch oven or another brand of enamel covered cast iron. This is THE EASIEST bread you will ever make. Really.
In a large mixing bowl add 3 cups white unbleached flour. I only had all purpose bleached so I used it. The original recipe by "Le Creuset" indicated there pot and unbleached flour.
To the flour add 1 3/4 teaspoon salt (I use kosher I like it) and 1/2 teaspoon yeast.
Whisk the flour, salt and yeast together.
Add 1 1/2 cups water.
Mix in the water. I used my silicone "spoonula's" by Pampered Chef. I use it all the time.
That's it! The dough will look like a shaggy mess. That's ok.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it set for 12 - 18 hours on the counter top. DO NOT REFRIGERATE. This is not optional. It takes that much time to proof the dough. The reason why you need a large bowl, is because the dough will start to rise.
After 12 hours the dough will look like this. It's pretty sticky, but that's ok it's supposed to be.
Here is my Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven. It's so awesome. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. I put my pot in the oven with the lid off but sitting beside it when I turned it on so that it would be hot and ready when the oven was.
Dump the dough out onto a HEAVILY floured surface. I love my Silestone counter tops for working with pastries since they dissipate heat and stay cool and are always easy to clean. http://www.silestoneusa.com.
This dough has stuff in it we did not have a photo of the plain version. This dough has also been doubled so it's twice the size of a single batch. After you dump the dough on to a floured surface shape it into a round ball. You will also want to add or incorporate your extra ingredients
After the dough is shaped, place it back in the bowl and cover it with the plastic wrap that was over the bowl. I sprinkled the bottom and sides of the bowl with fresh flower in order to prevent it from sticking to the bowl as it rises and being difficult to get from the bowl to the Lodge Pot. I doubled the recipe. You can do that.
Remove the pot from the oven and carefully pick up the ball of dough and drop it into the pot. You may want to flour your hands, because the dough may stick a little. Remember the pan is now 450 degrees hot! Be careful. Put the lid on the pot and return it to the oven for 30 minutes.
I baked two loaves only I baked one after the other.
Close the oven door and bake for 30 minutes. Wait until you see the next picture. This will blow you away!
This is the finished product. Remove from the oven and carefully remove bread from the pot. Remember the pot is HOT. I use a couple of hot pads and carefully pull out the bread.
Place the bread on a cooling rack until completely cooled. That's it! I did it! How easy was that? The loaf on the left is made using the basic instructions. The loaf on the left I added a handful of (last years Cherry Tomatoes I had dehydrated and stored away) "I soaked the tomatoes and garlic together over night" I added a 1/2 cup of Parmesan Cheese when I incorporated the tomatoes and garlic.
The house smelled like a NYC bakery and the bread after cooled was as good if not better than any high end high end bakery.