fresh from the oven
I made this! It's so pretty!
This is what Scott has taken to calling "Meredith's Super Duper Tasty Bread", but really it is "Pain Ordinaire" and it's quite easy and...well..super duper tasty!
2 tsp (or one packet) dry yeast
1 1/3 c. water
3.5 c. unbleached flour (I use half white and half whole wheat)
1.5 tsp salt
1. Sprinkle the yeast into 1/2 cup of the water, warm. Leave for 5 minutes, stir to dissolve. While you're waiting, mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center, and when the 5 minutes are up, pour the dissolved yeast into the well.
2. Use a wooden spoon to pull enough of the flour into the dissolved yeast to form a soft past. Cover the bowl with a dish towel and let it "sponge" until it's spongy looking and slightly expanded, this takes about 20 minutes.
3. Pour about half of the remaining water into the center of the well and mix in the flour from the sides of the bowl, mix everything up until you've formed a lovely firm, moist dough.
4. Turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead it until smooth, shiny, and elastic. Takes about ten minutes or less.
5. Put the dough back in the bowl (cleaned out) and cover with a dish towel. Let rise until doubled in size. This takes 1.5-2 hours. Punch it down, and let it rest for ten minutes.
6. Shape the dough into a long loaf, about 14" long. Place the shaped loaf on a baking sheet that has been oiled a little bit, and lightly floured. Again with the covering and let it sit there for about 45 minutes until it's about doubled in size. This is called proofing.
7. Cut diagonal slashes across your bread with kitchen scissors or a very sharp knife, and pop it into a preheated, 425 degree over. Bake it until golden brown and hollow sounding. 30-45 minutes (ovens vary wildly)