Simple Crusty Bread

Firstly, thank you for all the kind, amazing feedback after yesterday’s post. It wasn’t easy putting myself out there. After hitting “post” yesterday morning, my heart skipped a beat and I geared up for the worst. It was a huge leap of “blog faith”, I guess you could say. So, thank you! :)

In food news… :)

If yeast and kneading and rising scare you, you’re not alone. I’ve only attempted yeast breads a time or two, but there’s really nothing to fear. Sure, you need a bit of time and patience, but there’s no rocket science or technique involved. Just read the directions ;)

 

My first recommendation is to buy loose yeast (i.e. not packets). This way yeast can easily be measured out, plus it’s more economical. Second, use a kitchen thermometer (meat or candy) to find “lukewarm” water at 100° F. While 100° sounds rather warm, it’s not, and too hot of water will kill your yeast causing a flopped bread. If you don’t have a thermometer, just caution on the side of being too cold vs. too hot. The water should be warm, but feel too cold if it were bath water, let’s say.

 

Simple Crusty Bread from My Bizzy Kitchen and “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day”

1 1/2 Tbsp yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp kosher salt
6 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour + more for dusting dough

Directions:

In a large bowl or plastic container, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm water (about 100° F).  Stir in flour with a wooden spoon, mixing until there are no dry patches.  Dough will be quite loose and sticky.  I covered with plastic wrap sprayed with Pam.  Let dough rise at room temperature for 2 hours (or up to 5 hours).

Bake at this point, or refrigerate, covered, for as long as two weeks.  When ready to bake, sprinkle a little and cut into four pieces. Turn dough in hands to lightly stretch the surface creating a rounded top and a lumpy bottom.  Put dough on a surface sprinkled with cornmeal and rest for 40 minutes.

Place a broiler pan in the bottom of the oven.  Place baking stone on middle rack and turn oven to 450° F; heat stone at that temperature for 20 minutes.

Dust dough with flour; slash the top with a serrated knife.  Slide onto stone (I used a pizza stone).  Pour one cup hot water into broiler pan and shut oven quickly to trap steam.  Bake until well browned, about 22-28minutes. Cool completely.Yield: 4 small loaves (approx. 8 – 3/4th inch thick slices per loaf).

Nutrition Information (1/8th of loaf): 81 calories; 0 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 108 mg. sodium; 18 g. carbohydrate; 0 g. fiber; 2.4 g. protein

Result: I saw this recipe on Biz’s blog long, long ago and I’ve been wanting to make it ever since. But like I said, the yeast and rising scared me…for no good reason! The secret is that this is baked at a high temperature with a water bath to steam the outside for a crunchy crust, just as Biz said. If you don’t have a broiler pan to use, just throw the water in an 8×8 pan — it will serve the same function. I halved this recipe and cooked the loaves one at a time. Mr. Prevention wishes I would’ve made the whole recipe — he ate an entire loaf in one sitting (literally)! Portion control much?! I look forward to trying some herb and whole wheat varieties of this bread. It’s delicious – enjoy! :-D

And for fun, Kjirsten tagged me to answer 10 random questions. Thanks, girl!

1.  How many days a week do you workout? I religiously workout 4-5 days a week — 3 runs, 1 elliptical workout, and 1 hockey game is a typical week.

2.  What is your favorite ab move? Reverse crunches — lay flat on your back, pull your knees to your chest and then extend your legs straight out so that they are 6″ or less from the ground, being sure to not let them touch down. Repeat in slow motion. You want to do these slowly to get a good ab workout, especially once your legs are fully extended.

3.  If you could meet one celebrity, who would it be? Ellen Degeneres. I just love her!

4.  If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live and why? I’m not sure. Hubby and I talk about this a lot, but I think Chicago (home) would be my first choice.

5.  What is your favorite beauty product you can’t go a day without? I have 2 can’t-live-without-‘em products: BadGal Mascara from Benefit and smudge-proof eye-liner from Stila. Both products hold up through a long, sweaty hockey game but come off easily with face wash.

6.  Do you have any pets?  If so what kind?  If you don’t what animal would you love to have? If you read my blog, you probably know about Lily, my English Bulldog. We also have an albino corn snake named Pinky. He made an appearance on the blog once upon a time and I think it freaked people out!!

7.  If you could only eat one food for the rest of you life, what would it be? I think cereal…

8.  What does your family and friends think about your blog? My family and friends are so supportive of my blog and many of them read on a fairly regular basis. :) Mr. P, however, never reads my blog. I should start dishing out the dirt on him, shouldn’t I?! ;)

9.  What is one sport you haven’t tried, but would love to get involved in? Salsa dancing. Sexy workout time with a man…I’m there!

10.  Red wine or white wine? Red (merlot or chianti, usually), however, Pinot Grigio has been a favorite lately.

Rather than tagging just a few people, I ask you:

If you could meet one celebrity, who would it be?


Comments

  1. says

    I’ve seen this on Biz’s blog too! It seriously looks amazing…the crust is the best part!

    Hm, can I meet Jesus? Hee hee. Actually, I’d love to meet Anthony Bourdain.

  2. says

    The bread looks great. I’m super impressed, Nicole! Nick never reads my blog either, so I feel your pain. I love Ellen D. too. I would spend a day with her ANY day!

    I’m going to go read your blog form yesterday….you got me interested!! HAve a great one.

  3. says

    Hooray for getting over your fear of making bread! And yes, buying loose yeast while it seems expensive at first is SO much cheaper than packaged yeast – yours look amazing!

    My husband is my #1 blog fan and is my proof reader. I’ll be at work and he’ll email me and say “you said kick it up a notch twice in one sentence!”

    Have a great day Nicole!

  4. says

    I actually just bought some yeast and intend on making some bread soon! Warm, homemade bread is the best. And I just tried out salsa dancing this past weekend. I highly recommend it!

    Hm, that’s a tough one….Ellen’s a good one. But like Sophia, I’m currently reading Kitchen Confidential, so I’ll go with Anthony Bourdain!

  5. says

    Love the bread baking!

    When it comes to yeast, I prefer to use instant (aka quick-rise) and I actually never put my yeast in water before baking. I just toss it right into the dough ingredients, adding the salt near the end of the kneading process so that the yeast has a little bit of time to work its magic.

  6. says

    Wow– this bread looks like something you’d buy in an expensive bakery!!

    One celebrity– man, how do I choose? I have a slight obsession with James Franco right now, so I’ll go with him :-)

  7. says

    Yum…in a bread making mood today myself! I always buy the big package of yeast from Costco…cheaper than the packages. Store in an airtight container in the fridge….lasts a LONG time! :)

    ps…I linked your post from yesterday to my post today! thanks!

  8. says

    Ohhhh, this bread looks heavenly! I’ve bookmarked it for future deliciousness – I’m so excited about how straightforward the recipe is! Thank you!

    I’m sooooo excited that you have a snake! I’ve always wanted to have a pet snake – they’re so gorgeous… I used to love my environmental health professor’s pet snake, who sat in my lap during classtime! :-)

    Any celebrity… Hmmm… Probably John Keats, my favorite poet… :-)

  9. says

    Here’s a budget tip for yeast (hey, I am the Budget Dietitian :) : Costco has the cheapest yeast out there. A huge bag for ~$3. You can’t bet that! :) Store it in the freezer to prolong its life.

    Good for you for trying yeast breads! I was scared of yeast for a long time after killing a few batches but am so glad that I tried again.

  10. says

    I have never made homemade bread. Horrible, right? I should try it though. I am sure there is nothing better. If I could meet any celebrity…hmm..maybe Michael Buble or John Krasinski..I just think they are both adorable.

  11. says

    Yay! You answered the q’s! And….OMG, you own a snake? I just look at the picture of Pinky with the mouse! One of my greatest fears is snakes. We had a 5 foot gopher snake outside our house for a few days this past June and I couldn’t sleep for a week! Since then, I still haven’t walked in our yard once and only take the puppy out now since its winter and the snakes are underground!

  12. says

    Oh my gosh, I love Ellen! :) If I could meet one celebrity … hmm … maybe Emma Thompson – love her!

    Your bread looks so easy, perhaps even I, the bread killer, can make it :P As for blog reading – Peter reads mine right after I post, so he always catches mistakes (not that I make any! ;) ).

  13. says

    Yummy looking bread!

    I would totally choose cereal too! The hubby and I are planning a trip to Chicago for our 1 year anniversary. Do you have any restaurant recommendations?

  14. says

    I’ve recently gotten into baking bread more often at home and I love it – it’s so more satisfying eating warm bread I actually made for some reason! Yours looks quite tasty :)

  15. says

    Oh goodness that bread looks soooo good! Beautiful photos too! I have no idea what celebrity I’d like to meet. This is sorta cheesy but I think I’d like to meet Hilary Clinton.

  16. Liz says

    I love making yeast breast but don’t because it takes so much time. This recipe was easy and delicious! I made the dough one night and baked it the next. I will definitely be making it again.

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