Crusty Herb Bread

I’ve made homemade bread quite a bit – probably 20 times in the past year – but I’ve NEVER gotten a good crust on it.  NEVER!  That all changed in the past 24 hours, and I’m a happy camper.  This bread takes a good 26-28 hours to make, but less than 45 actual minutes of your time and it’s REALLY good.  You need a stoneware casserole dish with a lid for this recipe.  This is the easiest bread recipe I have ever made, and it went perfectly with the Melitzanosalata spread I made yesterday.

CRUSTY HERB BREAD

  • 3 c. unbleached bread flour
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dry active yeast
  • 1 c. cold tap water
  • 1/3 c. herb infused olive oil (regular would be fine)
  • cornmeal

Add all ingredients to the mix bowl and combine using a dough hook.  Once dough has formed into a lump and has pulled away from the sides of the bowl, remove from mixing bowl and place in a large glass bowl sprayed with cooking spray.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise for 24 hours.

24 hours later, gently remove dough from bowl and set on a floured surface.  Gently take outside edges and pull to the middle.  Place, seam-side down, back in greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for 2 more hours in a warm place.  (Tip:  before the second rise, place a bowl of hot water in your oven and set it to “warm” for about 5 minutes.  Turn off the oven and let the dough rise in there – works like a charm.)

Once 2nd rise is complete, place stone casserole dish in the oven and let it heat at 475 degrees for 15 minutes.  Remove hot casserole dish from oven and sprinkle with corn meal.  Gently flip dough into casserole dish, seam side up, and sprinkle with more cornmeal.  Put the cover on and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove cover and let back for 15 more minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from pan and place on rack to cool.  AWESOME bread.

First rise

Finished product!

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