If you didn’t bake bread sometime in the last 10 months were you even living through a global pandemic? Back in March and April, yeast and flour were in short supply because everyone was suddenly making their own bread. I’ll admit to jumping on that train for many of the same reasons everyone else had – I’ve always been afraid of yeast and now I had nothing but time to overcome that fear.
My go-to recipe was the simple no-knead Dutch oven bread that comes out perfectly crispy on the outside and pillowy on the inside every time. Honestly, what changed me from a person who feared yeast to someone who uses it regularly was my Thermapen. Being able to accurately measure the water temp so I didn’t kill the yeast was a game-changed. Can’t recommend it highly enough (and no, they didn’t sponsor this). We’ve had many thermometers in our time but none hold a candle to this one.
One of these days I’ll add herbs and/or garlic to this recipe.
As seen on the Kitchn
1 pound all-purpose flour (be sure to actually weigh it) plus more for sprinkling
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water (110-115 degrees)
Place the flour, salt, and yeast in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Make a well in the center, and add the water into the well. Stir until it forms a shaggy dough.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in size and bubbly, 6 to 8 hours.
Lightly flour a piece of parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto it, folding it over on itself at least once while you do so. Quickly shape the dough into a round ball. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for 1 hour more.
About 30 minutes before the hour is up, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven. Place a large Dutch oven with its lid on the rack. Heat the oven to 450°F.
Using the parchment paper as a sling, carefully transfer the loaf, still on the paper, to the Dutch oven. If desired, make a slash or shallow cut on the top of the dough with kitchen shears or a sharp knife so that the bread can expand while baking.
Place the lid on the pot and put it in the oven. (Careful, the lid is hot!) Bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for 15 minutes more. You can be extra-sure that the bread is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted in the top or side registers 210°F.
Remove the Dutch oven from the oven and use the parchment paper to transfer the bread to a wire rack. Let cool at least 15 minutes before slicing the bread.