Crispy crust! Large air holes! Perfect for dipping in oil and vinegar! No kneading!
This bread rises well and takes minimal effort to bake, other than wait times. This version seems to be floating all over the internet.
- 3 cups flour (don't overfill or shake down; you don't want flour packed into measuring cup)
- 1 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- Any other mix-ins you like (for example - in the bread below, I added a handful of flax seeds, sunflower seeds, some rosemary and a taste of parmesan)
Mix all together and let it sit in a bowl covered by plastic wrap. Leave it on the counter for 18-20 hours. Pour onto a well-floured piece of parchment paper and form into a round loaf. Cover it with the previously used/moist plastic wrap and let it rise a bit while the oven is preheating to 450 degrees. Put a Dutch Oven (Le Creuset or some other oven-safe ceramic pot with a tight-fitting lid - I use a Calphalon ceramic pot) into the oven while it's preheating. When the bread is ready to go, pull out the pot, gently place the parchment paper with bread into the pot, and bake for 30 minutes. Take off the lid and bake for another 15 minutes. Your bread should look and smell amazing.
For the lightest bread, use all-purpose (white) flour. I often replace 1/3 or even 1/2 with whole ground wheat flour. If I want to be really healthy, I'll do a full whole wheat version with slightly less flour and let the loaf rise well before baking... or else it is really dense. Put it very gently in the pot so the air bubbles don't burst inside. I'll usually put craisins and flax seeds in that one to provide some nice textures in there.