Easy Homemade Crusty Bread

I don’t know about you, but not only do I love freshly baked bread, but I also love the way my house smells when it’s baking!

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Even better is a slice of the bread with a big glob of butter melting over it!!  And the yummy hard crust is heaven!

This recipe is so easy, quick to put together, and so delicious, you have to try it 🙂

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I used bread flour, I haven’t tried it with regular flour but I am sure it would work as so many recipes out there call for just regular flour.  Here’s what I did:

1 and 1/2 cups very warm water

1 tablespoon yeast

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups bread flour

I put the warm water in a very large bowl and add the yeast.  I left that sit for about 5 minutes and then added the salt.  I used my wooden spoon to gently swirl it around to make sure it was mixed.  Make sure the bowl is large enough to allow the dough to rise, it will double in size!!

Then I added the flour, stirring with the same wooden spoon.  The dough will be wet and sticky!  If you need to add a little water or flour to get the right wet sticky dough, go ahead just do a very small amount at a time.  Don’t worry about it too much.   Mine was too wet so I added some flour then I thought it was too dry so I added water….  It still baked up well!

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Cover with plastic wrap, put in a warm part of your counter and forget about it for a couple of hours.  I went to the market, when I returned home the dough was doing its thing so I just left it there while I made my soup.

All in all, it probably was on my counter for about 3-4 hours.

When you are ready to bake your bread, remove the plastic wrap and get your hands in there!  You might want to make them wet or coat them with flour, be prepared….it is sticky dough.  Divide the dough into 2 rounds.  You can bake them both if you want or put one in the fridge for laer in the week.  The dough should last about a week in a container that is tightly sealed.

On a piece of parchment paper place one of the dough balls, work it into a round and keeping any seams or folds on the bottom.  Let that rest for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, preheat the oven to 425 degrees and put a pizza stone in the oven to heat up.  Set the timer for another 20 minutes.

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After the bread has rested for a total of 40 minutes, put about 3 deep slices in the dough.  I sprinkled the top with sea salt and a little ground thyme, you do not need to do this step.  Carefully, because the oven is screaming hot,  place the bread still on the parchment paper on top of the pizza stone.  Bake for about 40 minutes or until the loaf is a light toasty color, remove from the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes, then slice and serve.

I have heard that an upside down cookie sheet works in place of the pizza or baking stone, I’ve never tried that.   I love my stone. it’s a good investment.

I have also placed a pie pan full of water in the oven while it is preheating and while the bread is baking, I did not notice a difference.

Hope you love this crusty bread as much as I do!

Live well!

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