Bread is one of my favorite foods. When I was a child, my grandfather often referred to me as a “breadatarian” because my vegetarian diet seemed to have a serious carb focus. I love artisan bread, but do not love the $5-$6 price tag that generally accompanies it. Thankfully, this bread recipe allows me to have fresh artisan bread at a fraction of the cost (as long as I am willing to sacrifice a bit of time). This bread can also be used to make a great caprese sandwich or be used to make a delicious caprese appetizer!
Frugal Cost Analysis:
Crusty Bread that Will Make You Seem Like an Artisan Baker (That Costs Pennies to Make)
An easy crusty loaf of bread ready to be devoured in a few hours!
- 2.75 to 3 cups all-purpose flour (plus additional for dusting)
- 2.25 teaspoons active dry yeast (one yeast packet)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1.5 teaspoons kosher salt (or sea salt)
- 1.25 cups warm water
- Combine yeast and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add warm water to mixture.
- Let yeast proof for 5 – 10 minutes.
- Add 2 cups of flour and the kosher salt to the yeast mixture. If you have a stand mixer, mix on low speed until all flour is incorporated. Otherwise, mix with a spatula or your hands. Add additional 3/4 cup to 1 cup of flour until the dough is starting to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Note – the dough will seem relatively sticky at this point.
- Add a coating of flour to another mixing bowl, and use floured hands or a floured spatula to transfer the dough mixture to the new bowl. Flour the top of the dough and cover with a towel. Let it rise for about an hour in a warm place. (I usually allow it to rise near my oven).
- Transfer the risen dough to your lightly floured counter top. (You may want to lightly flour your hands prior to the transfer if your dough is sticking to the bowl). Do not punch down the dough. Instead, pull the corners to the center and repeat this action until the dough begins to feel tighter. Flip the dough over so that the smooth side is up, and shape the dough into a rounded shape. Then transfer the dough back to your mixing bowl (smooth side up). Cover.
- Place a dutch oven (with the lid on) and heat the oven to 460 degrees Fahrenheit. (Note: I do not have a true dutch oven, but I have on oven safe dish with a lid that I use. You can really cobble together any oven safe items that will trap the steam while the bread is baking). If you have a dutch oven, use parchment paper to place the dough into the dutch oven to prevent sticking.
- Allow the bread to rise for an additional 30 minutes (or so) while the oven is preheating.
- Remove the dutch oven, take the lid off, and transfer your dough with the smooth side DOWN. Yes, you read that correctly. You want the “messy” side up to create a more rustic and artistic looking loaf of bread!
- Quickly put the lid back on your dutch oven and put it back into the oven. Bake covered for 30 minutes. At the 30 minute mark, remove the lid and bake for an additional 10 minutes. At this point, the bread should be a deep brown color.
- Remove the bread from the dutch oven. For best results, allow it to cool prior to eating.
Categories: Frugal Foodie