Seriously, this is THE easiest bread I think you can make. I am terrified of making bread, it always goes back to this one time a couple of years ago that I tried to make an Italian loaf and it turned out like a skinny rubber snake. An experience like that can scar you.
I came across this recipe on Pinterest here, and she found it on a couple of other sites, but as far as I can figure out it originated from Le Creuset. Makes sense seeing as it bakes in a Dutch oven.
UPDATE: Hayley messaged me with the actual originator of this recipe. It’s Jim Lahey and his recipe was featured in The New York Time’s Minimalist column here. It’s definitely worth a read because there are some tips and tricks for working with the loaf that I hadn’t seen on the Pinterest versions. Great find Hayley, so thank you! And thank you to Jim Lahey, my husband is now your biggest fan!
I was a little nervous as first. It seemed too simple, you know? But the pictures looked amazing and seeing as it was only going to use up 5 minutes of my time, I figured I’d be an idiot not to try.
Yes. You read that correctly.
This will only take 5 minutes of hands on time to make.
And there’s no kneading.
Seriously, it’s like magic or something.
Throw your flour, salt, and yeast in a large bowl. I really like glass bowls for rising dough, easier to gauge what’s going on.
Whisk it up.
Add the water (use room temperature water, you’re aiming for warm, but not hot).
Mix it up with a wooden spoon or spatula.
Cover it tightly with plastic wrap and let it rise. Now, directions say to let it rise for 12 to 18 hours. That doesn’t work for me who wants to prep it in the morning and eat it with dinner. I put this in the oven, with the oven light on. It works perfectly and rises in about 6 hours. Then just take it out and let it finish on the counter until you’re ready to bake it.
Beautifully risen dough.
This is the moment I started believing it was actually going to turn out.
Throw a bunch of flour down on your counter, put the dough on it, then put more flour on top of the dough.
Quickly shape it into a ball. This takes 1 minute. That’s it. At this stage, if you wanted too, you could mix some stuff in. Looking for ideas: rosemary, grated cheese (I’d go with an old cheddar), some roasted garlic, a combination of them, or anything else you can think of.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave for 30 minutes. While this is resting put your Dutch oven, lid and all, into the pre-heated oven for the 30 minutes.
Put the ball of dough into the pre-heated Dutch oven, put the lid on it, and put it in the oven. I sprinkled some sea salt on top first. I suggest you do the same. Side note: this is one of the worst pictures I’ve taking in a long time, so sorry for the blur. I had a dog playing between my legs and was cooking dinner at the time too so no chance for a re-take.
After 30 minutes take off the lid; this is what the bread will look like at this point. Continue cooking for 15 more minutes. I’m new to the bread game, so I worry about the inside being done. There are two ways to gage this: first, when you knock on the loaf it should sound hollow. While a nice fact, I don’t trust myself to accurately gage “hollow”. I stick an instant read thermometer into the side of the loaf, if it registers 190ºF – 200ºF we’re good to go.
And this, my dears, is what I ended up with. I was just as amazed as you are. It was great too, a nice chewy interior and a super crisp exterior. Bo was in absolute heaven and his only comment: I wouldn’t be upset if you made this every night. On that note, I’ve got one rising in the oven for tonight as I type.
Here’s the printable: