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No. 00 - The Best And Easiest Bread, Ever

This recipe is flexible and requires very little hands-on time. Dough can be placed in the fridge for up to two weeks once mixed (it tastes even better if it rests in there for awhile), and you can experiment with different types of flour. The bread is super-crusty, chewy, full of air pockets, and the ideal vehicle for an open-faced sandwich since it holds up so well. Enjoy!

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Servings: 16

Prep Time: 02:00

Cook Time: 00:50

Main Ingredients

1 1/2 tbsp yeast

1 tsp salt

3 cups warm water

6 1/2 cups flour

Preparation

1Measure ingredients into a large (really large) mixing bowl, ending with the flour. Stir with a sturdy wooden spoon until all of the flour is incorporated. It should look fairly shaggy and damp once everything's mixed well.

2Cover the bowl with plastic wrap sprayed with a bit of oil and let rest in a warm place for as long as is convenient, at least an hour or two, maybe less if it's a really warm day. If it rises and you need to leave the house, just pop it in the fridge; make sure the cover will let it breathe, especially if you leave it in there for more than a few hours.

3When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 475 (yes, that's correct) with your cooking vessels inside. I use a round dutch oven and a cookie sheet. The crust does turn out slightly better with the dutch oven, but the results on a cookie sheet are also delicious.

4Divide your dough into two equal blobs on a lightly floured countertop. Gently shape them into roundish mounds, dusting with flour as needed and let them rest until the oven is preheated. Once the oven is ready, carefully take out your super-hot baking vessels. In the dutch oven, plop your dough in carefully, cover, and place in the oven. The other loaf can be plopped onto the hot cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, remove the lid from the dutch oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes.

Additional Notes

Makes 2 loaves; takes as long as you need it to. Hands on time is a few minutes, rising time is at least a couple of hours (but only necessary once) and baking time 50 min. This recipe can also be halved.

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