Amazing Easy Artisanal Bread


My Emile Henri dutch oven: one of my loves.  A rarely used, and adored love.  It was a wedding gift.  You know how some things just strike you the moment you have them?  I hadn't asked for a Dutch oven, but once I had it I knew I'd never want to let it go.  I love its colour, its heft, its marbled surface.  Its the most bizarre thing because normally I don't get too attached to things unless they are wool socks (or my Hudson Bay blanket.  Also wool).  We've had it for almost a decade and I think I've used it less than two dozen times just because I didn't know what to use it for.

Until last week.  I came across a recipe for bread that seemed too easy, and the picture looked too perfect.  Turns out, the recipe really is that easy and it really does make a gorgeous crusty loaf of bread.  The kind of bread that you would expect to find in a paper bag with the word artisanal stamped on it beside the $5 price tag (also stamped with organic carrot juice ink).  I have made it four times this week.  Since I can't afford another Emile Henri dutch oven, thus limiting my ability to make millions selling this bread to the masses, I'll just give you the recipe.  Because everyone deserves to have this bread in their life.

Amazing Easy Artisanal Bread

3 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 cups water

1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and yeast.  Mix in the water.  Cover the bowl and leave your dough to rise for 12-18 hours.  I've left it for as much as 24 hours, and it turned out great.
2.  Preheat your oven to 450 *F.  Place your dutch oven (or any lidded casserole dish will work) in the oven while it preheats.  Do not grease the dutch oven - the bread won't stick.  Heavily four your work surface and your fingers.  You are going to take the dough out of the bowl, but the dough will be very sticky.  Place the dough on the floured work surface and shape into a circle.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap while you wait for the oven to preheat.
3.  When the oven reaches 450*F, take the dutch oven out and plop the ball of dough into the middle.  Put the lid on the dutch oven.  This is essential.  The lid traps the steam, and steam is what makes bread crusty.  Bake the bread for 30 minutes.
4.  Remove the lid from the dutch oven and bake the bread for another 15 minutes.  Behold!  You just made a gorgeous loaf of bread!


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