I originally posted this recipe on my Youtube channel, but decided it should absolutely be available here as well. Listen, this is one of the easiest recipes ever created. There are tons of variations available online, and I want to be the first to let you know that this recipe is also amazing for making 8 slider-sized rolls. It’s very versatile, as many different flour combinations can be used — whole wheat, all-purpose, bread flour, whatever rocks your boat. Just know that any flour containing wheat/grain particles will not rise as much because the shards of wheat tend to slide the gluten at the knees, causing it to be less puffy. It will still be very delicious though!
The originator of this incredibly simple recipe says that it’s so easy a 6 year old could make it. That is the truth-ruth! You literally mix flour, yeast, and salt with water…mix it around until it’s all absorbed…and let it proof for 12-18 hours overnight. The next day, you gently combine it into a ball — with plenty of extra flour as it’s a very wet and sticky dough, and then let it rest while you heat your oven. Bake it, and boom. You’ve got incredible fresh bread with zero effort. Don’t believe me? Watch the video tutorial 🙂
Why use a dutch oven? Ok, so…it’s like this. In order for bread to develop that incredible crust as it bakes, it needs steam. Professional bakeries use ovens that release steam during the baking process to help create that signature crust. Home ovens don’t have steam injectors, so we have to improvise. You could spray water every few seconds during the first 10 minutes of bread baking to kinda achieve that — OR — you can trap the steam inside of your dutch oven as the bread bakes. Dutch ovens are like little mini-ovens that trap lots of heat and steam and basically turn into small bread-baking saviors.
“But, I don’t have a dutch oven!” – you.
It’s ok, this bread will still bake on a regular baking sheet, and turn out just as delicious. You’ll get a nice crust, but it won’t be as crusty if you used a dutch oven. Honestly though, who cares, when you have such an amazing, fool-proof recipe that is guaranteed to change your culinary life. Just make the damn bread anyway.
I’ve made this bread many times, using either all-purpose flour, or bread flour. Both are amazing, but I’ll give bread flour the slight edge. It doesn’t matter though, you’ll be happy with whatever you choose to go with.
Look at that crumb! Perfect vehicle for lots of creamy butter 😛
You can totally make this bread! It’s worth it, and best of all, you know exactly what’s in it.
adapted from Jim Lahey
- Mix dry ingredients until combined. Add warm water and mix until flour mixture is absorbed by water. Dough will be wet and sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and store at room-temp or a turned off oven for 12-18 hours, and up to 24.
- Two hours before you’re ready to bake, gently pull dough out of bowl onto a heavily floured surface, being careful not to puncture too many air bubbles. Gently form into a ball. Place dough on top of cornmeal covered parchment paper and cover with a clean, floured kitchen towel for 2 hours. During the last 30 minutes of those 2 hours, pre-heat your oven and empty dutch oven to 450 degrees. Let it sit in there the entire 30 minutes. When it’s super hot, transfer the parchment/dough into the dutch oven, cover and bake for 30 minutes with the lid on. Remove lid after 30 minutes and bake an additional 5-15 minutes, or until bread registers 200 degrees on an instant read thermometer. Immediately remove bread from the hot dutch oven and let cool on a wire-rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
This is a wet dough. However, depending on the humidity in your situation, you may need a little more water or flour to help the dough come together. If your dough is unreasonably wet, add more flour. If there are lots of dried flour pockets, add a little more water. There is room for error in this recipe. I usually have to add up to 1/2 cup more water if I’m using bread flour because it is much denser and heavier than regular all-purpose. Play it by ear and go with your instincts. You can do this!