Sunday, March 11, 2018

Crusty Loaf with Only 4 Ingredients

Only four ingredients make this crusty bread with a 'springy' interior.

It's amazing how this recipe and process can make such good bread, but it does. We doubled the recipe and froze one loaf for later. The double batch was quick and easy in our EZ DOH mixer because we used our new, stronger stainless steel dough hook which is now available for purchase on our website.

Ingredients (for one 1.5 pound loaf):

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 5/8 cup of water (yes, this is a very loose dough)
1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast (don't worry, it will rise enough)
1 3/4 teaspoon salt


Place the flour, salt and yeast into the EZ DOH container and use the dough hook to combine. Add the water and mix for 3-4 minutes in the EZ DOH to create a wet, sticky dough mixture. As necessary during the mixing, use a plastic scraper to incorporate any flour that sticks to the inner walls of the container. Then, remove the mixing unit, cover the container with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise right in the EZ DOH container at room temperature for 12-18 hours. When it's ready, the dough will have bubbles on its top surface.

Now things begin to get messy! Empty the container onto a floured surface and sprinkle more flour on the dough, then use a spatula or large scraper to turn the dough over onto itself a few times, then cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow this dough to rest for 15 minutes.

Uncover the dough, add more flour and, working quickly, gather the dough, shaping it into a loose ball. Place it on a sheet of parchment paper that has been generously coated with cornmeal. Dust it again with more flour, and lightly cover with a smooth towel that has been coated with flour and let the dough rise for 2 hours.

Preheat a cast iron pot (dutch oven) in the oven at 450 degrees for 30 minutes (ours is 8 inches in diameter and 3 inches deep). Remove the towel from the dough, slide your hand under the parchment paper, and turn over the dough to put it into the preheated pot. Don't worry if you can't turn the dough over because it's too loose. It will turn out fine as long as one way or another you get this dough into the hot pot - but don't burn yourself!

Bake at 450 degrees with the cover on the pot for 30 minutes, then remove the pot cover and allow it to bake for about 15-20 minutes more. When it's browned on top it is done (or pop a thermometer into the loaf - it's done when the inside is 190 degrees). Set the pot to cool on a rack for 10 minutes.

Then, just turn the pot onto its side, and with a little help your finished loaf should release and pop out.

We've made this bread several times now but we are still surprised at how such a loose dough, with just a little yeast and no kneading, can "rise to the occasion" and produce a hefty crust with soft and chewy interior and great texture.

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