We've had a lot of requests for this recipe lately, so here you go! Baking your own bread is a great way to save money and use your food storage. Did you know that baking your own loaf of bread will cost you about $.32? That's a huge savings! If you've never made bread but want to give it a try, this is the easiest recipe on the planet! The sky is the limit with this bread because there are so many things you can add to it to make it unique and delicious.
Start by deciding whether you want to do a single or double batch. I always do a double batch because I just can’t resist a slice(or a whole loaf) straight out of the oven, and it’s so beautiful that I just have to share it with someone else!
To make this delicious bread, find a medium-sized bowl and add 3 c. flour, 1 tsp. yeast, 1 tsp. salt, and 1 1/2 c. very warm water. Stir it up. The dough will look a little rough or "shaggy." This is normal. Cover the bowl with a lid or some plastic wrap, and set it in a warm location. Before covering, feel free to stir in any mix-ins you like, such as cranberries, orange zest, cinnamon, sugar, cheese, rosemary, jalapeños, etc. You can also add mix-ins after the rise time. If you don’t have a warm location, wrap a towel around the bowl to try to insulate it the best you can. When the dough is ready, it will have doubled in size and look very sticky and bubbly.
In 4-18 hours, preheat your oven to 425 degrees with a Dutch oven inside. Add 1/2 tsp. coconut oil to the bottom of the Dutch oven before preheating. Sprinkle your countertop with about 1/4 cup flour. Scrape the dough out of the bowl and into the center of the flour. Using a scraper (because the dough will be WAY too sticky to use your hands), fold the edges of the dough inward to the center of the dough until you've formed a nice disc-shaped ball of dough.
Gently place the dough into a HOT Dutch oven and bake for 25 minutes with the lid ON. After 25 minutes, remove the lid and continue to bake 5-10 more minutes until to top is a lovely golden brown color. Remove the bread from the Dutch oven to cool completely before slicing and devouring.
Why the Dutch oven? It creates moisture, which gives the crust that chewy, crispy texture. If you don’t have a Dutch oven, but want to try to imitate the conditions that create the moisture, use a glass baking dish with a lid, or place some water in a pan at the bottom of the oven while baking to increase the moisture in your oven. Although using a pan of water in your oven will provide the desired chewy, crispy texture, it will not give your bread that flaky, crispy look.
Never store this kind of bread in a plastic bag or tupperware. It’s best just left out in the open or wrapped in a kitchen towel. If stored in plastic, the bread becomes too moist and loses it’s great texture. Also, never cut into a loaf of bread until it has cooled completely(unless you're prepared to eat the whole thing in one sitting), or you risk ruining the inside of your loaf by making it gummy.
For a PDF of this recipe, it's instructions and all of the variations in flavors that we've tried, click here. For a great video tutorial, click here.
Photo credit: girlversusdough.com