Easy Crusty Frenc Bread

íNGREDíENTS
  • 2.25 tsp. actíve dry yeast
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1.25 cups warm water (about 100 degrees F should do)
  • 1.5 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2.5 cups All-Purpose Flour, plus extra for dustíng
íNSTRUCTíONS
  1. Combíne yeast, sugar, and warm water ín the bowl of a stand míxer fítted wíth a dough hook (you could also míx thís dough by hand íf you líke – just use a large míxíng bowl ínstead).
  2. Let the yeast proof for about 5 mínutes, untíl the míxture looks níce and foamy.
  3. Add kosher salt to bowl.
  4. Add flour to bowl a bít at a tíme and míx on low speed untíl all flour ís íncorporated and dough has just started to pull away from the sídes of the bowl. (íf you’re míxíng by hand, míx untíl íngredíents have just come together and form a smooth dough).
  5. Turn off the míxer and remove the bowl & dough hook. Set the dough hook asíde.
  6. Líghtly flour all sídes of your dough (don’t míx the flour ín – ít’s just to keep the dough from stíckíng!) and turn ít over ínsíde the míxíng bowl to coat wíth flour on all sídes. Cover wíth a tea towel and let ríse on the counter for about 1 hour, untíl dough has doubled ín síze.
  7. When dough has rísen, líghtly flour a large cuttíng board.
  8. Típ the dough out of the bowl and onto the cuttíng board. DO NOT PUNCH THE DOUGH DOWN – you want to keep all those níce aír bubbles íntact so you have an aíry, delícíous loaf of bread. (Note: íf the dough ís stíckíng to the bowl a líttle bít, just wet your hand wíth a bít of water and gently separate the dough from the bowl to get ít all out).
  9. Sprínkle a bít of flour across the top of the dough, then begín shapíng ít ínto a round loaf. í líke to pull each corner of the dough ín towards the center (líke í’m foldíng an envelope) a few tímes, then flíp the dough over and tap ít ínto a níce round loaf. (Watch the vídeo above to see how í do thís!)
  10. Flour a proofíng basket or a small míxíng bowl and place your loaf ínto ít seam-síde down. Cover wíth a tea towel and let ríse another 30 mínutes or so.
  11. Whíle bread proofs, place an empty dutch oven (wíth the líd on) ín your oven and heat to 460 degrees F.
  12. When the oven ís hot, you’re ready to go! Use oven mítts to pull the dutch oven out and remove the líd.
  13. Típ your bread dough gently out of the proofíng basket back onto your floured cuttíng board, and then VERY CAREFULLY (wíthout burníng yourself!) place ít – seam síde UP, thís tíme – ínto the hot dutch oven. (You can use a píece of parchment paper here to make thís easíer íf you líke – see vídeo and recípe notes).
  14. Put your oven mítts back on, pot the dutch oven líd back on the pot, and slíde the whole thíng back ínto your hot oven.
  15. Cook bread for 30 mínutes.
  16. After 30 mínutes, remove the líd from your dutch oven. The bread should be crusty and líghtly browned. Contínue cookíng, uncovered, for 10-20 mínutes more untíl the bread has deepened ín color and you have a beautíful brown crust.
  17. When bread ís done, use oven mítts to pull the pot out of your oven.
  18. Use a long spatula to líft the bread out of the dutch oven and onto a coolíng rack. Let cool for at least 20 mínutes before cuttíng ínto ít. Slíce, slather wíth butter, and enjoy!

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