Crusty Bread

IMG_8527Hello friends– The years we lived in Spain, I learned to love bread.  Not making it.  Eating it.  Those first years we lived in Andalusia, where each pueblo made their own unique style of bread. It was sturdy “mostachones” in our country pueblo of Utrera.  Then we moved into Seville.  There were 3 small grocers across from our apartment.  They received hot bread deliveries, morning, afternoon and evening.  It was bread heaven.

So I was excited today when this happy loaf came out of my oven– super crusty on the outside, softy and chewy in the center.  Just right with a steaming pot of soup.  And- it makes your house smell bakery good while it’s cooking!  I’m not a big bread baker, but this is so easy I’m sure I’ll make it again…

3 cups unbleached flour
1 3/4 tsp. salt
1 package of yeast (a scant tablespoon)
1 1/2 cups warm water*

In a big mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt and yeast.  Stir in the warm water until it makes a shaggy blob of dough.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it in a warm place 12 to 18 hours (overnight is great).  That takes just 5 minutes!

IMG_8532Then, the next day,  heat the oven to 450 degrees (!)– When it’s hot, put an empty dutch oven (cast iron pot)  into the hot oven and let it heat up for 30 minutes.  While the oven is heating up, take the sticky dough out of the mixing bowl (a little flour on your hands may help) and wrap it in the piece of plastic wrap.  When the dutch oven has been heated 30 minutes, take it out of the oven and spray with cooking spray.  Then dump the bread dough into the pot and cover it with the lid.  Put it back into the 450 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Take off the lid and cook 15 minutes more.  Remove the bread carefully from the hot pan and let it cool on a cooling rack.

I baked it while Larry was off getting a hair cut.  I truly was going to wait and cut into it when he came home, but it smelled so good I couldn’t stop myself from sawing off a warm slab of bread.  Slathered with butter and orange marmalade– perfect!

*used water at the same temperature you’d use for a baby’s bath– not too hot!


13 thoughts on “Crusty Bread

  1. I saw a recipe similar to this on Pinterest they other day. Glad to know from a respected cook that it worked well. How long did you let it sit in the 12 – 18 hour part?

  2. Hi Debi (and all)– Yep, I got this recipe clicking through on Pinterest! My daughter Ani had made it a while back up in the SF kitchen and said it was a good one. So when I saw the recipe pop up and it looked to easy (no kneading…) I decided to give it a try. It was almost 18 hours before I got back to bake it because I spend the morning at school getting ready for the week. But it all worked out fine. I do love a sturdy bread crust. Hope you like it Debi.

  3. That is funny–I just made my first crusty loaf this past week, also, and posted yesterday. Absolutely loved the bread and family wants it regularly. I also made a version with dried cranberries and pecans and it was wonderful, too. I see a lot of bread made in cast iron in my future!

  4. I have no idea why it has taken me this long to finally make this bread…but it just came out of the oven a bit ago and we are wondering if it will last til dinner…LOL well, we did take a little taste…couldn’t wait until dinner…it is fab!!! Thanks

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