This is a very easy homemade bread to make. The bread comes out very crusty and with huge holes throughout, just like at the bakery.
Many different kinds of bread use only four ingredients; flour, water, salt, and yeast.
3 cups King Arthur All-purpose flour or bread flour
1 ¼ tsp kosher salt
4.2 grams or (1 ½ tsp) instant yeast
1 tsp honey, (or sugar)
1 ½ cups warm water 112 °F (44°C)
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, yeast, salt, and honey (or sugar). With a wooden spoon, blend well.
- (When you can, use a scale to weigh the same amount of flour, salt etc. every time.Try not to add too much flour, the leading cause of dry, tough loaves. )
- Warm the water slightly about 112° F. Stir in the water with a wooden spoon or hands until mixed and dry ingredients are moistened. Allow to rise. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a draft-free place for 4 hours. Butter an 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch loaf pan.( loaf tin, tray, or whatever you’re baking it in/on )
- Remove the plastic wrap from the bowl and scrape the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Try to handle the dough gently so it won’t deflate too much. You want lots of little air bubbles through the loaf.
- Gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all 4 sides and gently fold the ends over each other to form a rough loaf shape. Drop into the prepared pan. Cover loosely with a clean, lightweight dish towel and set in a draft-free place for 1 hour, or until it is approximately double in size. Dust. & Slash.
- Dust the top of the loaf liberally with flour, which will allow the slashing knife to pass without sticking. Slash a quarter inch deep cross, diagonal lines,on top using a serrated knife.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C) Place an empty broiler tray for holding water on any other shelf that won’t interfere with the rising bread.
- Put your loaf in the oven. Pour about 1 cup of hot water into the broiler tray and close the oven to trap the steam. Bake for 30 minutes, until deep golden brown. The loaf will sound hollow.
- Remove from the oven and turn the bread out onto a rack to cool completely before slicing. Let it cool 2 hours before slicing.Enjoy!
Notes & Tips:
–Warm water will rise the dough to the right point for storage in about 2 hours. With cold water it will need 3-4 hours.
–Yeast is alive and grows by dividing. Using less yeast means a longer time before you see the dough rise which allows time for more flavors to develop.
– For a better crust, set your oven to 425°F (220°C) and leave a roasting tray in the bottom of the oven to heat up. When the oven reaches the right temperature and just as you put the bread in to bake, fill the tray with cold water. This creates a steam bath in the oven which helps the bread to have a lighter crust and prevents tearing.
-You can wrap the bread in plastic wrap and then in a freezer bag and keep for up to three months in the freezer. Thaw at room temperature and crisp up for several minutes in the oven, preferably on the oven rack
Artisan, chewy style crust needs steam for the first few minutes, then dry heat.
-Dusting with flour gives a rustic look to the loaf.
-Egg wash turns the bread golden and gives a softer crust.
–Milk washes in the last few minutes are good for a sandwich style loaf and give a glossy brown, soft crust.
-Brush loaves or rolls with oil or water and roll in grains or seeds to coat before baking.(Oil softens the crust, Water keeps it crisper.)
Slash the top of the loaves 1/4 inch deep 15 -20 minutes before baking, if not longer, to give the ultimate slash and rise look to the bread.
(Source -“Different Crust”) https://www.thespruceeats.com/
photo credit :pixabay.com