Really Easy, Crusty Bread
- Sift the flour through the sieve to add a bit of softness to it. If you use wholewheat flour you will have have grains left on the sieve. Add them back to the flour.
- Add salt and dry yeast and mix it all together.
- Add water and mix for 30 seconds or until you form a loose dough. Do not knead!
- Leave it in the bowl covered with cling film (plastic food wrap) for about 12 hours. The best is to leave it overnight, you'll have a tasty crusty bread in the morning!
- After 12 hours of rest, the dough should have a stringy texture. Put it on slightly floured surface and fold it over.
- On a clean cloth spread a bit or flour. Put carefully your dough on it the smooth side up (folded side down). Leave it aside until the oven is warm enough (see next point).
- Heat the oven to maximum (250°C). While warming the oven, place your ovenware inside. You want it to be blazing hot.
- Take the ovenware out from the oven. With your hands sprinkled with flour place your dough inside the pot, the smooth side down (folded side up). Cover the ovenware with the lid.
- Put the ovenware back inside the oven. Bake the bread for 30 minutes with the cover closed. After that time, uncover the bread and bake it for another 20 minutes. If the top of the bread becomes too brown, place a small piece of aluminum foil on it.
- Take the bread from the oven, out of the pot and let it cool down for about an hour.
Watch the video of the original recipe shared by Mark Bittman.
I recommend using a special bread flour. It's widely available in bio shops or in supermarkets. You can use flour for pain de campagne, wholewheat flour or a simple white flour.
Play with the diversity of additional ingredients. You can make an Italian version of the bread with black olives and dry tomatoes, a healthy version with pumpkin or flax seeds or a Dutch version with gouda cheese. Experiment and try different combinations, but remember that an overall amount of additional goodies shouldn't exceed 100g!