- 3 c
- unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 tsp
- salt - I use kosher but regular salt is just as good
- 1/2 tsp
- yeast - I use bread yeast because i don't want to activate it. see my notes about the yeast.
- 1 1/2 c
- water - cold is fine, just right out of the faucet
- 1 Tbsp
- sugar - raw is good or regular sugar. I have used both.
Yeast – make sure and use Instant Yeast or better known as Bread Machine Yeast. This yeast does not have to be activated before adding it to your dry ingredients. You can use Active Dry Yeast, but make sure and activate it with a little warm water before adding it to your dry ingredients. I just don’t like taking the risk of not activating it properly and then my loaf doesn’t rise.
Parchment Paper – this dough is super-duper sticky. After it rises for 18 hours you have to plop it out onto a heavily flour surface and then drop it into your Dutch Oven. The best way to do this without touching this ball of gooey love… is with Parchment paper!! Just make you an area with your Parchment Paper, flour it up very nice, plop your bowl of gooey goodness down onto the paper, make your ball of dough and then when you are ready to drop it into your Dutch oven all you have to do is pick up the sides of the parchment paper and TADA! You cook your Crusty Bread on the parchment paper! It doesn’t burn, plus it makes it easy to remove when everything is all done! SUCCESS!
When you are shaping the dough into a ball after it rises, try not to fuss with it too much and deflate the air bubbles.
Make sure and let the dough rest 30 minutes (after you have shaped it into the ball) before you put it in the heated Dutch Oven and into the oven.
DO NOT grease your pan. Whether you use the parchment paper or not. The parchment paper is the easiest way I have found to move the dough around.
Also, you do not have to use an enamel covered cast iron dutch oven like I have, you just need something that can take the heat. The following have been used: Clay pots with lids, Pizza stone with a bowl to cover the bread, insert from a crockpot, pyrex baking dish with a lid, stainless steel pot with a lid, baking dish covered with aluminum foil, old cast iron dutch oven.