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Simple Crusty Bread

My daughter is the bread lover in our family.  Wait, I take that back.  We are the bread lovers of our family!  While Tony can low carb and not touch a piece of bread for months, Hannah and I immediately go through withdrawal if we don’t get our fix.  You can’t get much easier than this.   This recipe is from “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day”  The secret is that this is baked at a high temperature with a water bath to steam the outside for a crunchy crust. 

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of yeast (which turned out to be 1 packet + half of a second packet – I need to buy it loose to measure better)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 6 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, more for dusting dough

In a large bowl or plastic container, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm water (about 100 degrees).  Stir in flour with a wooden spoon, mixing until there are no dry patches.  Dough will be quite loose and sticky.  I covered with plastic wrap sprayed with Pam.  Let dough rise at room temperature for 2 hours (or up to 5 hours).

Bake at this point, or refrigerate, covered, for as long as two weeks.  When ready to bake, sprinkle a little (I used more than a little) and cut into four pieces.  Each one of my doughs weighed in at about 6 ounces.  Turn dough in hands to lightly stretch the surface creating a rounded top and a lumpy bottom.  Put dough on a pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal and rest for 40 minutes.

Place a broiler pan in the bottom of the oven.  Place baking stone on middle rack and turn oven to 450 degrees; heat stone at that temperature for 20 minutes.

Dust dough with flour; slash the top with a serrated knife.  Slide onto stone (I had to lift it up as it kind of stuck to my pizza peel).  Pour one cup hot water into broiler pan and shut oven quickly to trap steam.  Bake until well browned, about 30 minutes.  (Mine took 28 minutes).  Cool completely.  Are you kidding?  We let it cool all of about 5 minutes!

here's how it looked after the two hour rise

here's how it looked after the two hour rise

here they are resting on my pizza peel

here they are resting on my pizza peel

So as I was reaching to open a new canister of corn meal, Hannah tells me that we have two that are already opened, and I should use those first.  Um, I am not kidding, the one I took out of the pantry expired in 1999! 

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Yep, it was made in 1997!!

Here is what the bread looks like in all its delicious glory:

This is hands down the best bread I have ever made!

This is hands down the best bread I have ever made!

Sliced up ready to eat:

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So although Hannah and I could have eaten this bread all by itself as a meal, I did make other things – crunchy pork chops and spiral macaroni and cheese.

For the pork chops I took two pieces of the last of our Panera sourdough bread and put them in the food processor with a drizzle of olive oil, minced garlic and Italian seasoning.

don't chop the bread crumbs too fine

don't chop the bread crumbs too fine

I brined the pork chops in 1 quart of water to 1/4 cup salt for 30 minutes.  I patted them dry, tossed them in flour to coat, then into a mixture of 2 egg whites a 1 tablespoon dijon mustard mix.  Then into the garlic bread crumbs, pressing the bread crumbs into the meat.

I put them in a cast iron skillet on medium heat in about 1 teaspoon of canola oil and Pam spray.  I pan fried them just until both sides got crunchy, then finished them off in the oven at 350 until the meat thermometer reached 150. 

here's how they look before the first flip

here's how they look before the first flip

here's how it looks on my plate - this weighed in at 4.5 ounces

here's how it looks on my plate - this weighed in at 4.5 ounces

With my side of mac n cheese:

I used some of my garlic bread crumbs on the top - so good!

I used some of my garlic bread crumbs on the top - so good!

As I was clearing the table, and Hannah was loading the dishwasher, she took the liberty of taking some extra pictures!

Love you Han!

Love you Han!

So I ran out of time for my superbowl recipe, but I’ll do that tomorrow – in my head its simple and good, but you never know!

Night all, see you in the a.m.

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  • Tony
    January 25, 2009 at 2:51 am This was the best home made bread ever! Sadly, Hannah will eat it all by morning!
  • Sagan
    January 25, 2009 at 3:00 am Mmm. Bread. I like grains way too much.
  • Mel
    January 25, 2009 at 3:15 am I love bread so much! There is nothing better than homemade bread! Just a question, did you get your package? I just wanted to make sure that it got there okay.
  • carolinebee
    January 25, 2009 at 3:48 am ha i guess that means it's good right!?
  • Sarah
    January 25, 2009 at 3:59 am ooooh, those crunchy pork chops look so perfectly browned, mmmm. beautiful bready meal!
  • AnAppleADay
    January 25, 2009 at 4:16 am wow your meals look great!!! purple sweet potatoes are much sweeter than regular potatoes. have you tasted those sweet potatoes from asian markets?? they're not orange inside. they're more like cream looking colored inside. and MUCH sweeter than those orange inner swt potatoes in american groceries. purple swt potatoes taste closer to those cream-colored swt potatoes. you should really try them!!! once you try those, you can't go back to orange swt potatoes. =]
  • Christina
    January 25, 2009 at 4:19 am My favorite part of this post is imagining how GREAT your house smelled!!! Delicious! :)
  • luckytastebuds
    January 25, 2009 at 4:34 am I really just think you should become a chef. :P Is there anything you don't know how to cook?? Thanks for everything! All the recipes, all the fun it looks to live with you. hehehe :)
  • Sharon
    January 25, 2009 at 5:43 am Wow, super tasty! And I totally know what you mean, I heart CARBSS!!!!!!!
  • VeggieGirl
    January 25, 2009 at 12:50 pm FABULOUS!!
  • marafaye
    January 25, 2009 at 1:13 pm OMG what a great meal!!! Making bread is such a comfort...
  • ksgoodeats
    January 25, 2009 at 2:34 pm That bread looks AMAZING! I'll gladly take any leftovers ;)
  • maggieapril
    January 25, 2009 at 3:22 pm That bread looks awesome. If I lived near you I would find a reason to visit every evening near dinner time!!
  • ttfn300
    January 25, 2009 at 11:36 pm yeah i would've just had bread :) looks amazing!!
  • Andrea [bella eats]
    January 26, 2009 at 4:01 am Oh my gosh...your dinner looks amazing and that bread is GORGEOUS!!! I keep reading about the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes book...I really need to check it out sometime.
  • Marianne
    January 26, 2009 at 4:10 am Awesome looking bread! I made bread this evening as well, but not a yeast bred. And you can't go wrong with good ol' mac & cheese :D
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    February 23, 2009 at 5:33 pm Do you need a baking stone, or can you bake it on a cookie sheet??
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      February 23, 2009 at 6:55 pm I use a baking stone, just because I have one, but I am sure a cookie sheet would work - just make sure to use plenty of cornmeal so it doesn't stick.
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  • Talia
    September 21, 2011 at 10:08 pm I just tried this bread on Monday, and I love it! Thanks for sharing the recipe. :-) I also used some it for bread crumbs the next day- delish too!!
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      September 22, 2011 at 1:02 am Great! I absolutely love that bread - nothing like fresh baked bread, is there?
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    December 12, 2012 at 7:39 pm Tried it. Loved it!!
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