I got this idea and recipe from our buddies the Aulens. We have joined them for dinner a handful of times where we were greeted with this warm, crusty, homemade bread. There is something magical about the idea of having homemade bread for your guests. I finally just asked how they make it and discovered that it was a pretty darn easy recipe. So, I put on my bakers hat (which is pretty rusty) and thought I would try the recipe.
Here are the links to a couple recipes since a few folks have asked. I thought a blog post would be easier to explain the tweaks I made. After I made the longer version of this recipe I discovered there is an even speedier/easier counterpart. The recipe I tried this weekend is from a 2006 Mark Bittman NY Times post . I let the dough rest for about 18 hours even though 12 is an option. The speedier version has a resting time of a mere 4 hours! I will be trying this next and comparing to see if there is a loss in flavor or texture. Apparently Bittman created quite the buzz when this was introduced in 2006 because it is so easy.
I also found a recipe for a whole wheat option that includes rye flour. Can’t wait to try this one. I also wonder how gluten free bread would do..I may try this as well.
As far as ingredients, I just used all purpose flour because that’s what I had in the pantry. I did have to buy some instant yeast. Make sure you get the instant yeast. The packaging was tricky and had I not noticed this difference in the recipe it wouldn’t have worked out. We have a rosemary bush in our backyard so I added about 1.5 tablespoons of fresh rosemary to the mix. I will probably add even more next time. I also want to try some sun dried tomato, kalamata olive or roasted garlic ..mmmm..options are limitless.
I used my Rachel Ray 7 quart dutch oven (one of the best wedding presents to date). I just screwed off the handle and placed some tinfoil in the hole. I didn’t think that silicone handle could handle 450 degrees. It worked like a charm. I also think any cast iron or similar pot would work just fine. I used cornmeal instead of flour to prevent sticking and this also work well.
Ok, now that you have the recipes go get started on a loaf. It made me feel like a kitchen pro and I know you will feel like one too!