Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Rustic Crusty Bread

If you love bread like we do, you should definitely make this:

This recipe comes from Mel's Kitchen Cafe and is not hard to make.

Rustic Crusty Bread
adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

1 1/2 T. yeast
1 T. salt
3 c. water
6 1/2 c. flour

Whisk together the yeast, salt and flour. Stir in warm water with a wooden spoon until the flour is completely moistened. It will be lumpy, and that's fine. Cover the bowl with a towel and leave in a warm place for at least 2 and up to 5 hours. Take the dough ball and cut in half. Form each half into a round by pulling the top tight and stretching into the bottom. This makes the top smooth and the bottom lumpy. Lay on a rimless cookie sheet or baking stone if you have it. (I don't have a stone and the cookie sheet worked great. Don't grease it). Cover and let the rounds rise for 45 minutes. Set the broiler pan or a rimmed baking pan on the bottom rack of the oven and preheat the oven to 450. (I have convection so I used that and set the temperature to 420). After the bread has risen, dust each loaf lightly with flour and slash the tops with a very sharp knife. When the oven is hot, set the bread in the oven on the middle rack, and pour a cup of hot water into the hot broiler pan. Quickly shut the oven so the steam doesn't escape. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the bread is nicely browned all over. Cool completely before slicing.

I served this bread with spaghetti and dipped my slice into olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Some of my family put garlic spread on theirs, and some put peach jam on it. Everyone loved it.

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