I've always wanted to make bread but never tried because I thought it was super complicated and it involved yeast, which for some reason intimidate me. I have to thank my friend Alyssa, for introducing me to this wonder. She pulled a beautiful crusty artisan loaf out of her oven and I had to know her secret. The recipe can be found here. You can add all sorts of ingredients to it to jazz it up if you like.
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon Instant or Rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 cups water
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast. Add water and mix until a sticky dough forms. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 - 18 hours. Heat oven to 450 degrees. When the oven has reached 450, place a cast iron pot with a lid (or you can use Corningware like I did) in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, pour the dough onto a well floured surface and shape into a ball. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let set while the pot is heating. Remove hot pot from the oven (using potholders!) 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 cool.
Here's what the dough looked like after 15 hours. Please forgive my photography skills. I've been slacking lately.
This is the dough formed into a ball, waiting to go in the oven.
Doesn't it look beautiful and delicious? I chopped up some rosemary and added it to the dough in the beginning. Impressive.
And then we made panini's with it. So. Good. My favorite sandwich is caprese. Spread some basil pesto on each slice of bread, add a few slices of tomato, fresh mozzarella and chopped fresh basil. It's the best. Try it.
If I can make homemade bread, you can, too. You'll love it! This would be perfect with a batch of homemade soup.