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Breaking Bread with Tradition – Artisan Bread Recipe

Artisan Dutch Oven Crusty Bread Perfection

I adore the aroma of freshly basked bread, especially on chilly winter days. It’s the warm embrace of baking dough that fills our home with comforting scents, making you anticipate that first delicious bite. This no-knead recipe, comprising just four simple ingredients, is perfect for beginners (like me). With its’ golden crust and satisfying flavor, it infuses your home with pure joy. Once day, my husband surprised me with this freshly baked golden bread and it has been his favorite go-to recipe since. He has been on a quest for the ideal bread recipe for quite a while and we have experimented with several, but this one stands out as the easiest, quickest, and most delicious. So, let’s give it a try!

Ingredients

4.5 cups all-purpose flour (a little more for dusting)

1 Tbsp sugar

2.5 tsp fine sea sale

¾ tsp active dry yeast (1 tsp for instant yeast)

2 ¼ cups warm water

Optional:  cornmeal

Optional: butter or jam for serving

Dough:

Place flour, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl, then pour the warm water over the top. Use a dough whisk, spatula, wooden spoon, or your hands to mix together. Stir until a shaggy dough forms and the dough is combined. The dough should be wet and sticky but add a Tbsp or two more flour if it’s too sticky to handle.

Once the flour is mixed completely, cover with a towel or plastic wrap sprayed with nonstick spray. Leave on the counter and let rise for 8-24 hours. If you are short on time, you can bake as soon as 3 hours. You can also refrigerate it for up to 7 days. We made the dough in the morning and let it rise all day and baked it in the evening for dinner.

Shape the dough:

Generously flour the counter and your hands (use about ¼ cup). Turn the dough out on the counter. The dough will be sticky. Do not punch it down, knead it or roll it out. Just gently and quickly work the dough into a French boule (round ball) by pulling the ends into the center. Then place into a glass bowl. Lightly dust the top with flour. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes while oven preheats.

Bake: NOTE – If you don’t have a Dutch oven, a Pyrex dish with a lid will trap steam like a Dutch oven, but any cast iron or ceramic coated dish might be better.

Preheat the oven to 450OF about 1.5 hours before serving. Place a 4-6 qt. Dutch oven (with the lid on) into the oven for 30 minutes to get hot.

Remove the Dutch oven and sprinkle some cornmeal into the bottom of the pot (or a piece of parchment paper). Carefully tip the glass bowl and let the dough fall into the pan. Use a bread knife to add 1-3 lines across the top if desired. Cover with the hot lid and bake for 30 minutes, or until it starts to turn golden. Remove the lid and bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until completely golden brown on top. When you gently knock on the top of the bread, it should sound hollow.

Allow the bread to cool on a cooling rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing (the middle will finish cooking while it cools, so make sure to give it time to rest).

Here’s how ours turned out – DELICIOUS

Storage: Store in a paper bag so it doesn’t soften for up to 4 days. You can freeze it for up to 3 months.

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