When Ford and I first got married, coming on six years ago, I use to make this bread all the time. Although it does take almost a full day to make it, its very simple and well worth it.
It is also very versatile, you can easily add herbs, cheese, roasted veggies, practically anything you can dream up to give it variation and make it even more amazing. Also you know those pull apart bread recipes, the ones where they cut partially into the bread fill the cracks with tasty treats bake it some more and then pull out chunks of heaven…this bread is GREAT for that. It’s great plain, toasted, make into a grilled cheese, dipped into soup, its just sensational.
It has been ages, and I do mean ages since I baked a loaf of this bread. I decided to make this bread simply to take pictures. Not solely of the bread, but I wanted bread for the pictures. Ford just finished making me a serving tray from the most gorgeous fruit tree wood, and he needed some good pictures to post on his Instagram, and I wanted to show it off 🙂 So here we are, I baked this bread to show off my serving board, but I’ll give you the recipe too. Its a win win situation really.
Crusty Artisan Bread
Crusty outer shell, with a soft yeasty inside. This bread may take time, but it is well worth it. It has a slightly sour taste that reminds me of sourdough.
I know it sounds crazy that it takes 14 to 21 hours, but if you start the bread in the afternoon, its ready to bake by mid-morning the next day.
- 6 C Flour (You could use half whole wheat if you like)
- 1/2 t Yeast
- 2 1/2 t Salt
- 2 2/3 C Water
- Optional add ins – cheese, jalapenos, roasted garlic, rosemary, green chile…ETC!
- Mix all ingredients (except add ins) in a large bowl until well combined.
- Cover and let sit in a warm place for 12 to 18 hours.
- Using well floured hands, and a well floured surface, form the dough (which will look very liquidy and bubbly) into a ball. You may end up kneading a little bit of flour into the dough to get it firm up a bit.
- This is the time to knead in any additional ingredients you might want to add.
- Using a kitchen towel (not terry clothe, a flour sack towel is good) and a piece of parchment paper, dust liberally with flour, and wrap the dough ball lightly with parchment and towel. Let rise 1 to 2 hours.
- The last 30 minutes of rising, preheat the oven to 425. Before you turn the oven on, place a dutch oven with lid into the oven to preheat as well.
- When oven is heated, place the dough ball into the dutch oven.
- Return the dutch oven to the oven and bake with the lid on for 40 to 50 minutes. Your house is going to be filled with the heavenly smell of home made bread.
- Remove the lid and bake for an additional 10 minutes, giving the bread that lovely golden brown color.
- Place the bread on a cooling rack, and once the bread has cooled enough to slice eat a piece right then.
- Enjoy with a thick stew. My family will be enjoying some toasted slices with jambalaya tonight. Yum!
I hope this bread warms your heart and soul, and fills your kitchen with hungry people and the feeling of family.
God bless your family. I hope you have a wonderful week!