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Monday, September 10, 2018

The World's Easiest Crusty Artisan Bread.

Several years ago I set out to learn the art of bread making. At first, I would grab a recipe, toss the ingredients in my KitchenAid stand mixer and hope for the best. I didn't really understand that you have to measure. I didn't know about dissolving yeast or allowing the dough time to form a gluten window through kneading. It definitely didn't make sense that the dough would need time to proof. I was kind of clueless.

There was a lot of trial and error during those times and I threw a lot of bland, bricks of "bread" in the trash can. Eventually, I learned that bread making is part science, part art, and part patience. It's a matter of learning the right balance. It can be kind of tricky.

Now I make all kinds of bread and it's no biggie. My favorite is the recipe I'm going to share today.

Recently, a cute neighbor brought me the most beautiful and delicious loaf of bread. It was crisp and crusty on the outside but soft and tender with huge air pockets on the inside. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. That bread was heavenly! I was convinced she had spent hours in the kitchen slaving away to make this wonderful creation. I was shocked when she told me the dough takes three minutes to make. 

I couldn't wrap my head around that. Bread takes hours! But, She wasn't kidding. This dough comes together in less than five minutes, however, you have to let it work its magic on your countertop for 12-24 hours. Still, that is incredible! I wish I had known about this recipe all those years ago when I was just starting out. Artisan bread is ridiculously easy and nearly goof-proof.

This recipe doesn't need you to dissolve the yeast or knead the dough. It only requires you to have patience and allow it to do its thing. I promise it is 100% worth the wait.

You will need:
First, measure your flour into a large mixing bowl. Make a valley in the center and add salt and yeast. Pour water into the valley and stir just until the dough comes together and the flour is incorporated. Then, cover your bowl with plastic wrap and set on the counter for 12-24 hours.

Once you've allowed it to proof,  place your baking dish or skillet in the oven and preheat it to 450 (allowing the dish to get hot before putting the bread dough in). While your oven is heating, pour dough onto a floured piece of parchment paper. Pull the dough into about a 10"x 10" square, then fold it into itself, forming a ball. Cut slits or an X on top. As soon as the oven is hot, place the dough and parchment paper into the hot oven. Bake for about 32-35 minutes. Allow to cool for about 15-20  minutes before cutting.

What did I tell you? Easy, right? And it's so good!

Happy Baking!

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