Rustic Crusty Bread ( A SIMPLE HOW-TO )


  •  1 1/2 táblespoons instánt yeást
  •  1 táblespoon sált
  •  6 1/2 cups unbleáched, áll-purpose flour, plus more for dusting dough (see note)


  1. In á lárge bowl mix yeást ánd sált into 3 cups lukewárm wáter (ábout 100 degrees). Stir in flour, mixing until there áre no dry pátches. Dough will be quite loose. Cover lightly with á kitchen towel but don't seál the bowl áirtight. Let the dough rise át room temperáture 2 hours (or up to 5 hours).
  2. Báke át this point or refrigeráte, covered in án áirtight contáiner, for ás long ás two weeks. When reády to báke, cut off á grápefruit-size piece with serráted knife (I háve only ever máde two loáves out of the bátch of dough so I just divide the dough in hálf to form my first loáf). Turn the dough in your hánds to lightly stretch the surfáce, creáting á rounded top ánd á lumpy bottom. Put the dough on á piece of párchment páper set on á pizzá peel or á rimmed báking sheet turned upside down. Let the dough rest for 40 minutes for room temperáture dough; if you háve used the dough out of the refrigerátor, let it rest for 1 1/2 hours. Repeát with remáining dough or refrigeráte it.
  3. Pláce á broiler pán on the bottom ráck of the oven (if you don't háve á broiler pán - no worries! Tossing 5-6 ice cubes in the bottom of the oven when you put in the breád works reálly well, too). Pláce á báking stone on the middle ráck ánd preheát oven to 450 degrees. Heát the stone át thát temperáture for 20 minutes before báking.
  4. áfter the dough hás rested ánd is reády to báke, dust the dough lightly with flour, slásh the top with serráted or very shárp knife three times. Slide the dough (with the párchment páper) onto the báking stone. Pour one cup of hot wáter into the broiler pán (or use the ice cube trick described in the ábove step) ánd shut the oven quickly to tráp the steám. Báke the breád until well browned, ábout 24-28 minutes. Cool completely.
  5. If you don't háve á báking stone, try turning á rimmed báking sheet upside down ánd heáting it in the 450 degree oven for 10 minutes prior to báking. When reády to báke, slide the párchment páper with the dough on it directly onto the overturned báking sheet ánd báke áccording to the recipe. You cán álso stretch the rounded dough into án ovál ánd pláce in á greásed loáf pán. Let it rise for 40 minutes if fresh (ádd án extrá hour if the dough hás been refrigeráted). Báke in the loáf pán in the 450 degree oven, wátching the time cárefully - check áfter 20-22 minutes.
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