This has got to be one of the easiest and most rewarding ways to make bread! It’s made using a cast iron enameled pot with a lid and that’s the key to why it turns out so great. The lid allows steam to build up and it’s that steam which gives the bread that professional bakery crust. Le Creuset makes a beautiful cast iron enameled pot and someday I will own one! They are quite expensive and if you have one already, lucky you! But if not, you can find a much less expensive alternative like I did. Most people use a round pot for this bread but my enameled pot is oval in shape and it works just fine.
I first saw this method explained in a post on the Simply So Good blog. There you will find an excellent tutorial on how to make bread this quick and easy way. She also gets very creative with the recipe and adds different ingredients. The recipe that first caught my eye was her recipe for Rosemary, Lemon, and Gruyere Bread. That is the next one I am going to try now that I have mastered the original flavored recipe.
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour (I highly recommend that you use Unbleached All Purpose Flour for this recipe. I like Gold Medal brand.)
1 3/4 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast ( I can usually get about 3 loaves of bread from each yeast packet.)
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.
(Sometimes I will add an extra tablespoon or two of water if the dough seems excessively dry.)
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 - 18 hours. Overnight works great.
I love that there is no kneading or “punching down” the dough with this method.
Pre-heat the 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 with the lid for 30 minutes. The pot needs to be nice and hot before you add your bread dough. While the pot is heating up, you can remove your dough from it’s bowl and shape it. Pour the dough onto a floured surface and shape into a ball. I like to use a piece of parchment paper that is lightly floured and I gently transfer the dough from the bowl to the parchment paper. I sprinkle a tiny bit of flour over the bowl of dough to help with the stickiness as I move it from the bowl to the parchment paper.
When your pot has finished pre-heating for the 30 minutes, remove it from the oven and gently drop in the parchment paper with your dough. The dough will bake on the parchment paper inside your covered pot. Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes. Be VERY CAREFUL…The pot and lid are VERY HOT!!
After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes until your bread has the right color.
Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool. Beautiful!!
It’s delicious hot out of the oven but it is best to let it cool a bit before you try to cut into it. I would also suggest you turn the bread on it’s side and use a bread knife and cut it with a sawing motion to get the best slices and prevent yourself from smashing down the bread.
I have been mixing up a batch before I go to bed at night and then baking it off the next day in time for dinner on the days I know I know we will want some bread. This bread is great with dinner, makes a great sandwich, grilled sandwiches on this bread are especially good and leftovers if you have any make great homemade croutons for a salad. My favorite way to use the leftovers is to make a piece of toast to enjoy with my morning coffee.
Never made bread before? Give this one a try. It’s amazing!