There is just something about fresh out of the oven, toasty, crunchy, soft and fluffy bread.Oh, the wonderful things you can do with fresh bread… croque monsieur, pastrami or corned beef rubens, steak sandwiches… the list could go on forever into sandwich heaven. The best part you ask? It only takes 5 minutes of prep time, 30 minutes to bake, costs about $1, no more expensive and crappy store bread. Oh yea and your house will smell like a Parisian bakery. I average about 3 loafs a week. Lets be honest, I don’t keep doing things when they are hard to do. The word lazy does not offend me (much to the dismay of my loving, over achieving fiancé). I like to argue laziness is a genetic condition which requires too much work for me to over come. This bread is my kind of easy. This loaf may be the most adventurous loaf of bread I will ever get to eat. Tomorrow it will be sliced up AT 5 AM and used for several tasty sandwiches for Chris, his sister, Elise and her boyfriend Forest. By the way, the only time I am ever willing to get up that early, is if I am adventuring. After a 5 mile hike to the Bridge To Nowhere, the four of us will chow down on some awesome sandwiches before we go bungee jumping. That’s right BUNGEE JUMPING. And THIS bread, it’s coming along for the ride.
Oh, Le Creuset. Currently my favorite piece of kitchen gear. Heat this bad boy in an oven at 450 degrees for 30 minutes. BE SO CAREFUL this little punk will be HOT as F when you take it out. Drop your dough in the pot, put the lid on and bake for 35 minutes. NO peeking, it won’t burn I promise, letting the heat out of the pot makes the dough dense not fluffy soft. Full recipe is below.
Fresh Baked Bread
*The bread dough will need to rest at least 12 hours, I usually make it the night before and bake it fresh in the morning for breakfast and lunch. Do not put in the fridge. Cover and let rest in a warm area of your kitchen.
3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of yeast (don’t let the yeast and salt touch, salt will kill the yeast)
1 1/2 cups of warm (NOT hot) water
Mix the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast to the warm water and mix until dissolved. Do not use hot water, it will kill the yeast. When the water starts to foam, you know the yeast is working. Slowly add the warm water, yeast mixture and mix using a fork. Don’t over mix, just until all the dough sticks together in the bowl. When you over work it, your bread will be very dense. The bread will need to rest at least 12 hours, I usually make it the night before and bake it fresh in the morning for breakfast and lunch. Do not put in the fridge. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm area of your kitchen. It should double in size.
When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 450 degrees and put the Le Creuset in for 30 minutes. Flour the dough and take it out of the bowl, shape into a ball, place on a floured surface cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the Le Creuset from the oven, place the dough inside, put the lid on and bake in the oven for 35 minutes. Don’t be tempted to peek like I was the first time I adventured into the world of baking. When you open the lid, it lets all the hot steam from the bread escape the pot and it turns out dense and doughy, not the light fluffy loaf we all love. After 35 minutes take the bread out of the oven and let cool until you can slice it easily.
SO that’s it. It is so easy and so tasty. Oh yea, did I mention it you can make in all kinds of flavors? Pretty much any flavor you can think of, so get adventurous! It is the beginning of all the tasty sandwich adventures you can have. I know, you can’t wait :)