June 29, 2012

Easy Artisanal Yeast Bread–Deep Covered Baker

June 29, 2012

The quickest yeast bread you'll ever make. Warm, fresh, crusty on the outside and soft on the inside, delicious home made bread in just over an hour and for about $1.

Ingredients:

5-6 cups all-purpose flour (you can substitute whole wheat flour for 1 or 2 cups)

2 tablespoons dry yeast (regular, NOT rapid rise, yeast)

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon salt

2 cups hot water (120° to 130°) Note: water temperature is critcial to proper yeast activation

Directions:

1. Grease the Deep Covered Baker and the bowl that you'll let the bread rise in. Set aside.

2. Combine  4 cups of the flour, the yeast, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the hot water and three minutes with a mixer (or 100 stokes by hand).  Add the remaining flour (I've never needed to add more than 1 cup) until the dough is no longer sticky.  Knead the dough for 8 minutes on a floured surface, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking.

3. Place the dough in the greased bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let rise 15 minutes.  Remove dough to floured surface, punch or fold down** (3 minutes should do it) and shape into a large loaf. Place the dough in deep covered  baker.

Cut a slit about 1/2 inch deep along the top of the loaf and several small slits on either side of the first slit. It will look a little like a branch with leaves when you are done.

4. Put the lid on the baker and place in a COLD oven. Turn oven to 400° and bake for 50 minutes. Remove from oven, uncover, gasp in amazement, remove loaf from baker to cool on a rack.

Cook's Tip: to slice bread set it on it's side and cut with a serrated bread knife.  By cutting from the side you avoid crushing the flaky top crust.

Note: this recipe makes a VERY LARGE loaf (over 5 inches tall x 7 inches wide x 10 inches long). The Deep Covered Baker has a 3.1 QT capacity. If you use an alternate to the Deep Covered Baker please makes sure it's large enough for the recipe!


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