Just released Jan. 1, 2015 and instructional video for the Crusty Bread recipe:
Click on link here: Crusty Bread Video
Let me clarify that the recipe originated with Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery. Please do not send me a comment stating that I make it appear to be my brain child. I’m not. I’m just helping everyone through the process.
I have received THOUSANDS of questions and responses to this recipe. I have received helpful hints on how to clean my pots, which are sparkling at the moment. Thank you very much. Many of you have sent in your fabulous creations. From classy fig, walnut, and bleu cheese to less classy pepperoni and sausage.
I have had more fun reading about how successful bread baking experiences. I have scratched my head over questions that completely puzzle me. Oh how I wish I could just pop into a few kitchens to help solve a dilemma. I have answered the same stickin’ questions OVER and OVER again. I have literally answered some questions HUNDREDS of times! I have to admit I don’t mind. Keep them coming. I love hearing from you.
I would like to go over this simple recipe once again.
My starting advice:
- Be chill. It’s only yeast. It won’t hurt you. Just follow the instructions the best you can.
- Play in your kitchen and play with your food. Especially this bread. CREATE!
- Take a deep breath. You can do this.
- The recipe is VERY forgiving.
Simple. Don’t complicate the ingredients.
You will need:
3 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon instant or rapid rise yeast
IF you do not have instant or Rapid-rise and you only have regular active dry yeast, THEN proof the yeast before you use it by mixing the yeast with 1/4 cup warm water. Let it set for 5 minutes then mix the yeast in with the water. BAM! It will work.
I’m using a dough whisk also found at King Arthur flour. (they are not paying me to promote their products. I just wanted to give you a source for purchasing if you want one more kitchen toy)
You can use a wooden spoon, rubber spatula, whatever you have to mix the dough.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
Let the dough sit for 12-18 hours.
If the dough only sits for 11 hours, it’s ok. Don’t sweat the fact that it needs another hour. If the dough sits for 24 hours, it’s ok. Don’t stress. It will all be good in the end.
Once the oven has heated to 450 put your pots with the lids into the oven to preheat for 30 minutes
VERY IMPORTANT NOTE:
You do not HAVE to have a enamel coated cast iron pot. They are awesome and I can’t live without mine, but it’s not completely necessary.
Here is a list of what many people have used with great success:
Old camping dutch oven
A crockpot insert. If the knob on the lid is plastic, it must be removed or it will melt)
The idea is to create a steam oven inside the pan. The steam is what produces a nice crisp crust. What ever the container is that you use, just make sure it can take temperatures up to 450 degrees F. I have some Emile Henry covered dishes, but they don’t like an oven hotter than 400 degrees. They will crackle like crazy if you put them in a 450 degree oven (experience).
Oh! Your pot will need to be hold at least 3 quarts. 5 – 6 quarts is ideal, but the smaller will work, just be careful not to burn yourself putting the bread in or removing it. I received at least 500 questions about the size of my pots. I hope I answered that question well enough.
Heavily flour a surface. I’m using a pastry cloth, which is nothing more than canvas with the edges surged. You can use your counter top, a bread board, whatever works. Just flour the daylights out of it.
If you have a dough scraper, use it.
Gently form the sticky mass of dough into a round ball. Look closely at the dough and you will be able to see a large air bubble in the lower right side of the dough. That’s good. I don’t want to knead out the large air holes. We are making artisan bread and want many large air holes.
Place the lid on the pot. Remember we are creating a steam oven. If you are using aluminum foil, crimp it around the edges as tight as you can. Please don’t burn yourself.
Bake covered for 30 minutes.
I know what you are thinking. If I don’t use parchment paper, do I need to grease or oil the pan. NO! NO! I have never had the bread stick to the enamel covered pot. Oil or grease in this hot pot will smoke like crazy. If you are worried about the dough sticking, invest in parchment paper.
Ta da! Isn’t that just amazing. It’s so pretty I get all giddy inside.
Bake an additional 15 minutes with the lid OFF.
After 15 minutes, remove the pot from the oven and place the bread on a cooling rack. Chances are you are going to be cutting into the bread immediately. I did. Why not. It’s amazing.
If you have the will power to let it sit until it’s cool, it will be much easier to cut. Who cares? The bread is amazing right out of the oven.
You did it. Pat yourself on the back. You are one amazing bread baker.