Author Notes: A very basic, crusty, and fluffy bread that makes a great accompaniment to dips, cheese, butter, or meat.
This is the version of this kind of bread that I usually make, adapted from the many different versions of basic "boule" bread. —Meira Kitani
Makes: 3 loaves
cups All purpose flour
cups Warm water
tablespoon Quick-acting dry yeast
pinch Sea salt
- Warm the water until it's warm, but not hot, to the touch. Pour it into a bowl.
- Add the yeast to the water and let it spread throughout the water evenly. Add a little bit of the salt (but not too much or else you'll kill the yeast) and the sugar. Don't wait for the yeast to proof.
- Add the 3 cups of flour to the un-proofed yeast-water mixture. Stir well until a loose, gooey, sticky dough is formed, and there are no more dry pockets of flour.
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap with a hole in the wrap for air to escape, or put on a loose lid that allows the passage of some air.
- Leave the dough to rise for at least 3 hours. At this point, it can be refrigerated and left to rise overnight.
- Dust a baking stone with flour.
- When the dough has doubled, rub it with flour to make it , gently take it out and shape it into 3 loaves of equal size. Be careful not to handle the dough too roughly. Place the loaves on the dusted baking stone. When shaping the loaves, tuck the sides of them underneath them, making sure that the tops of the loaves are tight and smooth. It doesn't matter what the bottom looks like. NOTE: YOU DON'T HAVE TO KNEAD THE DOUGH at all
- Preheat an oven to 450 degrees.
- Leave the dough to rest and rise a second time for about 40 minutes. Don't wait too long, or else they will collapse.
- After the loaves have increased in size over the designated period of time, make about 3 short, shallow cuts on the tops of them. Don't cut them too deeply.
- Bake the loaves for about 20 minutes, or until they look well browned and crusty.