I went through a stage of making my own sourdough a couple of years ago; almost at around the same time I started writing the blog. I was inspired by my sister Elles, who gave me the Gail’s cookbook for Chrissie one year – sent all the way from London.
And talk about satisfying! I made my own ‘starter’ (the bread enthusiasts among us will understand what that means) and tended to it lovingly for a couple of months. All was going well until it started to turn a slight green colour and smelling somehow a little too “sour”. Too sour even for sourdough. I’d obviously done something wrong. Goodbye sourdough.
As fun as that was, to be honest, it was a little too technical for me anyway. Not really my kind of cooking. My kind of cooking is something a little easier to master. Something that can be thrown together in the space of minutes (proofing aside) and using ingredients that I always have in the cupboard (you only need four ingredients for this bread!) Plain flour, salt, water and instant yeast sachets; you can get them at any supermarket (I always have them in the pantry for making pizza dough).
I guarantee you that this loaf’ll have you feeling like a professional baker. But if you’re looking for a loaf of bread that resembles a sliced white ‘Tip Top’ loaf from Woolies, than this is NOT the recipe for you. This is the kind that will take you back to those endless bowls of crusty bread served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar on European holidays in little red and white checkered tablecloth clad tavernas (gosh those were the days).
It’s SO easy, it really is for dummies. I dare you to stuff it up. The outside is super crunchy – just the way I like it; you should hear the sound of the crunch it makes when you cut in to it. Crunchy on the outside and soft and squishy on the inside, smother it in butter whilst still warm from the oven. Oh. My. Gosh. Yum!
And with all of this time being spent at home lately, what are they saying? That we should all be learning a new skill? It seems that everybody on social media is currently baking their own bread (either that or doing a jigsaw puzzle – thanks to the endorsement from Scott Morrison). So if you’re looking for something to pass the time and jigsaw puzzles aren’t your thing, then look no further. Follow the pictures below to see just how easy it is.
So this one’s for you Elles Belles. Nowhere near as professional as “Gail’s” I’m sure, but it’ll hit the spot nonetheless. I just can’t wait to enjoy a slice or two of this with you under the vines at ‘Henwood’ soon.
a crusty loaf of bread | seriously easy to make
You’ll need a Dutch oven for this recipe.
This is a simple no-knead bread; cooking it in the Dutch oven helps to give you that extremely crunchy outer crust. Master this and you’ll never need another bread recipe ever again. It takes only minutes to put the ingredients together, 2 hours to let it rise, 45 minutes in the oven and 15 minutes to let it rest. And feel free to contact me with any questions you might have about the recipe.
3 x cups of plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting
1 x sachet of dry yeast (7 grams)
1 x good teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 cups of hot tap water
A piece of baking paper
- Mix the flour, yeast and salt together in a large mixing bowl.
- Gradually pour in the water whilst mixing with the wrong end of a wooden spoon until it all comes together, to form a wet dough (thanks to Life as a Strawberry for this tip).
- Simply place some Gladwrap over the dough and let it rest on the counter, preferably in a warm place near a window, for a minimum of 2 hours. (The dough should double in size during this time and you should start to see a lot of air bubbles forming).
- Half an hour before you want to bake the bread, preheat the oven to 220℃ and place the Dutch oven in the oven to heat up (you want it to get really hot!). [Place the oven in the oven – ha!]
- Now scrape the dough out of the bowl (I use a pallet knife but you could also use an egg flip) on to a floured surface (dust a couple of tablespoons out on to the counter first) and bring the edges of the dough in to the centre of the dough, so that you’re essentially tucking them in. (NB: the dough should be really sticky and wet). [Make a rough oval shape if your Dutch oven is oval, as mine is, or make it round if you have a round one instead].
- Then, rather awkwardly – flip the dough over on to a piece of baking paper and place it in to the hot Dutch oven.
- Cook with the lid on for 30 minutes.
- Carefully take the lid off (it’ll be hot, hot, hot) and cook for a further 10-15 minutes until it’s nicely golden brown.
- Turn out on to a wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes (so it can continue to cook all the way through to the middle) before serving.
If you make this bread, please leave your comments below. Would love to see what you think. xx