Thursday, November 29, 2012

Crusty Artisan Bread {Super Simple!}

Let me start out by saying that although it's true, I love baking, I am challenged when it comes to yeast breads.  They never seem to come out right.  So believe me when I say that this recipe is a good one, because even I can do it! There's no kneading, proofing or any funny business you would usually associate with baking bread, so just breathe and don't stress about it.
We love artisan crusty breads, and now that I discovered just how easy they are to make, I love them even more!

A heavy, enamel covered cast iron pot is recommended for this bread, but NOT absolutely necessary
 You can use anything with a lid that can take the heat.
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 cups water
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast.  
Add water and mix until a shaggy mixture forms.  
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 - 18 hours.  
Overnight works great.  

Heat oven to 450 degrees.  
When the oven has reached 450 degrees place a cast iron pot with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes.  
Meanwhile, *if adding any “add-ins” stir in now*, then pour dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball.   The dough will be sticky, so don't be shy with the flour.
Cover with plastic wrap and let set while the pot is heating. 
 Remove hot pot from the oven and drop in the dough.  
Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes.  
After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes.  
Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool. 

Slice it up and enjoy!!!
Rosemary, Thyme and walnut pesto bread

**Ideas for "add-ins"**
*Add about 3/4 cup cranberries, orange zest from one orange and about 1/2 cups sliced almonds.
*Some chopped Rosemary and 1 cup Parmesan
*A few table spoons pesto and some sun-dried tomatoes
*Sliced Jalapenos and cheddar
*Raisin walnut cinnamon
*The list is really endless, have fun with it! 

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