From the mastermind of all things bread, Jim Lahey let’s us in on his secret recipe to amazing tasting homemade bread that’s really easy to make.
Yield:One 1 1/2 pound loaf 1x
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1/4 tsp. instant yeast (or 1/3 tsp. active dry yeast)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 5/8 cups water (use warm water if using the active dry yeast)
Cornmeal or Wheat Bran, as needed
Combine the flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Add the 1 5/8 cups water (just over a 1 1/2 cups) and blend with your hand until just combined. The dough will be sticky and shaggy. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 12 hours, preferably about 18 hours, at room-temperature in a warm room, approximately 70 degrees.
You will know the dough is ready when it has a surface dotted with tiny bubbles. At this point, lightly flour a work surface (i.e. counter-top or large cutting board) and place the dough on it. Fold the dough over itself once or twice, creating the shape of a ball, and sprinkle with a little flour.
Generously coat a cotton towel with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal. Put the dough seam side down on the towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel (or if your towel is large enough, fold it over the dough completely. Let rise for about 2 hours, until the dough has doubled in size. .
30 minutes prior to baking the dough, place a 6 to 8 quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, pyrex, or ceramic) in the oven and heat the oven to 450 degrees. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under the dough and turn dough over into pot, seam side up. It may look like a bit of a mess, but that is totally okay. Shake the pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed… it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned.