If you read my blog often, you know I love homemade bread. So here's another one you can try out. It's simple, easy, and delicious.
This bread is a bit rustic and artisan style with a few simple ingredients and yields a crusty, chewy exterior and nicely crumbed interior. This dough is extremely versatile and you just can't go wrong in my opinion.
Directions and Method:
1 cup water
1 package dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cups flour (I prefer King Arthur Bread flour)
Up to 2 cups flour additional added before kneading
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly, reserving the two cups of flour for the next day. Dough will be runny. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
The following morning, remove from refrigerator and let come to room temperature. This can take 5 or 6 hours, don't worry. As it warms the dough will rise slightly and become puffy.
Add additional flour in 1/2 cup increments combining completely until a sticky bread dough forms.
Scrape out onto lightly floured surface and knead 10 -15 times only. Form into baguette shape and place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet or baking stone. Cover and let rise for 90 minutes.
The easiest way to form a baguette shape is to roll the dough out 6 inches wide and 10 to 12 inches long. Grab one of the long sides and roll up jelly-roll style and place the loaf seam side down on the parchment paper, tucking the ends under.
Add two cups water to an ovenproof pan and place on bottom rack of oven. Preheat oven to 500 degrees until water is starting to steam.
Place loaf in oven on higher rack for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 450 degrees and bake for 15 more minutes. Remove from oven, let cool for 10 minutes and serve immediately. You generally don't want to immediately slice into a loaf of bread just removed from the oven as the crumb is still setting a bit as it cools. Be patient, it'll taste just as good.