This bread is amazing. It has simple ingredients and simple steps – all you really have to do is think a little ahead, okay like a day ahead.
You can smother it with butter when it’s warm from the oven, or dip it in a generous slosh of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or you can use it for sandwiches, it’s choose-your-own-adventure-bread.
- 3 cups unbleached flour
- 1/4 tsp traditional active dry yeast
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Combine yeast and warm water in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Stir vigorously and then let it stand for a few minutes until it’s good and frothy, about 5-10 minutes. I usually use this time to measure out my other ingredients. (However if you’re in a big rush you could skip this frothy step and just add everything together).
Next add the flour and salt to your bowl with the frothy (or not) yeast and water, mix everything together with the dough hook attachment. If you’re using a stand mixer stir on medium for about two minutes and then turn it down to low for about five minutes. Letting the dough come together on itself, it should begin to form a ball and start to feel tacky but not too wet. If there’s still a lot of moisture you can add a tablespoon of flour. It’s alright if it’s still really shaggy, it’ll change when it rises. If it’s still not coming together you can hand knead it a little bit on a well-floured counter.
If you’re hand mixing I would recommend using a big ol’spoon to start mixing and then as the dough begins to come together you can turn it out onto a well-floured surface and knead by hand until it’s elasticy-tacky but not sticky, and adding more flour as needed, about 5 minutes.
Drizzle some olive oil into a large bowl and put the dough in to rest and rise. Cover with a tea towel and set it in a warm place for 12-18 hours.
Once your dough is risen, you can turn it out onto a well floured surface and pound it back down and knead it a few more times. Gently form it into a bit of a rectangle (or whatever shape your loaf pan is, I love to use THIS one) and place it into your lightly greased loaf pan. Then cover it and let it rise one more time for two hours.
In the final 10 minutes of your last rising session you can pre-heat your oven to 350°F.
Bake for 30 minutes, and then at the very end you can switch and broil (on high) the top for 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown.
Once removed from the oven you can let it sit for a few minutes and then tip the loaf out onto a cooling rack. I find the loaf can get a bit soggy if it stays in it’s pan while it’s cooling for too long.
Then dig into some delicious bread people!
Please tell me how it goes! Did you sub half the flour for whole wheat and add a tablespoon of honey? Did your family eat it in one sitting? #noshame Tell me your bread story!