Serving : 4 – 6 Time : 18 to 24 hrs Difficulty : Easy
This is my first attempt at making an Artisanal Loaf! After mixing the 4 basic ingredients in a plastic bowl. I covered it and let it remain at room temperature for almost 14 hours. Then into the oven and voila! A beautiful loaf of artisanal bread!!!!Less than 2 hours later, all that was left was the heel from the end and crumbs!
3 cups of unbleached bread flour ( I used King Arthur brand bread flour) + extra for dusting
1/2 tsp active dry yeast ( Fleischmann’s Active Dry Yeast Original works well)
1 3/4th to 2 tsp Kosher or coarse sea salt
1 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp of tepid water
In a glass or plastic bowl put in all the dry ingredients. Mix well.
Next add the water and using a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon, mix the dry ingredients till the whole dough looks a messy mass. Do not overwork to make it smooth. It will look lumpy and uneven. Cover the bowl with a cling wrap or cover and keep in a warm room temperature area for around 14 to 20 hours.
When ready to start baking, take an enameled cast iron pot or dutch oven and place it in a preheated oven at 450 F for 30 to 40 minutes.
In the meantime, take the dough, which should now be smelling yeasty and like sourdough. It should have more than doubled in size and the top should have a lot of bubbles all over!
Turn out the dough, which will be a sticky mess, on to a floured board. Dreg your hands with flour and quickly bring the mass together into a round shape. cover and let it rest on the board for around 30 to 35 minutes.
Take the cast iron enameled pot from the oven and remove the cover. Gently put the dough, into the middle of the pot, taking care not to burn your hands. Cover the pot and place the pot back in the oven for another 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the lid and let it bake for another 10 to 20 minutes – depending on the oven – to get that beautiful golden brown crust! I baked it for around 14 minutes
Take it out of the pot carefully and let cool on a rack for about an hour. When you knock on the loaf, it should sound hollow!
Cut into slices and enjoy with butter, cheese, herb infused olive oil or any other topping!
Please read the notes below the photos
- This loaf can be baked in any oven safe container that has a lid. Incase there is no lid, loosely cover with a piece of heavy duty foil. If the knob on the lid cannot withstand 450F temperature, then wrap the knob with a piece of heavy duty foil.
- Incase one wants to add dried herbs, Garlic powder, shredded onions, cheese, dry fruits or nuts, do so along with the flour, right in the beginning, before adding the water.
- Never us a metal bowl or spatula for mixing the dough.
- If one wants to cover the top of the loaf with herbs, garlic, onions etc., do so after brushing the top with melted butter or oil and sprinkling the condiment on top, before baking.
- Incase there is any bread left over, do not place in a plastic bag, which will destroy the crusty top, so leave it on the cutting board with the cut side down and loosely cover the loaf with a kitchen towel.
- If one is using a regular pot, and not an enameled one, place a parchment paper at the bottom of the pot to stop the dough from sticking to the pot.
- Please do not use iodised or table salt. Using this will make the bread dense. Kosher or coarse sea salt works wonders!!