I posted about this Rustic Crusty Bread yesterday in my Beef Stew post. I raved about how it was the most delicious bread ever! And it was! It was so easy to make too! I am still so excited about it, I thought it needed its own post.
This is not my recipe!! I got this recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. I’m reposting it below, the way I made it, but again, it’s not my recipe. I wish it was. LOL :-)
I also did a little research on how to store bread. In the past, my homemade bread has always tasted great from the start, but then once I stored it… it just was never great again. It was either cold from the fridge, moist or soft from the plastic bag, or worse… moldy from storing it too soon (steam).
Here’s what I tried last night and this seemed to really work. Overnight, I turned the bread onto it’s side, on the cutting board, sliced side down (so it was standing up on end). I read that keeps the bread soft in the middle – the crust protects it on all sides and then the cutting board protects it on the cut side.
Then this morning, when I got up, I sliced a piece off and it was just as yummy as it was last night! I then stored it in a paper lunch bag. It lets just enough air in to keep it from getting mushy and soft, but keeps enough out to keep it fresh. I tried it again tonight, after storing it all day like that and it was still great! So I thought I’d share those tips.
At any rate, here’s my interpretation of the recipe! :-) Courtesy of Mel’s Kitchen Cafe!
- 3 cups of very warm water
- 1 packet of rapid rise yeast
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 6½ cups of unbleached all purpose flour
- In a large mixing bowl, mix yeast, salt and water.
- Stir in the flour into the water mixture, just until thoroughly mixed. Dough will be very sticky.
- Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise for 2-5 hours.
- The dough will still be very sticky. Divide the dough in half. Refrigerate half for a future use.
- Cover a pizza paddle or overturned baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
- stretch and shape the dough into a ball and place onto the parchment paper/baking mat.
- Allow to rise for 40 more minutes. (1 hour and 40 minutes of previously refrigerated).
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place one rack in the lowest position and put a baking sheet with sides or a broiler pan on it. Then place a pizza stone on another rack in the middle position of the oven. Allow these to heat while the oven preheats. (if you do not have a pizza stone, preheat an overturned baking sheet in it’s place).
- Using a sharp knife, make three diagonal cuts in the top of the bread and lightly dust with flour.
- Once the oven is ready, slide the bread dough (parchment paper/silicone mat included) onto the pizza stone.
- Fill the baking sheet/broiler pan on the bottom shelf with 1 cup of water and close the oven quickly.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes. Mine baked perfectly at 24 minutes.