Crusty White Bread
We don't eat a ton of bread and a lot of times it's sourdough when we do. Honestly, that seems like too much work with the starter and all, so I just buy it and feel no shame. However, this crusty white bread is so quick and easy and delicious (I am biting my tongue on a terrible joke here) - I love making it.
- 1.5 cups lukewarm water
- 1 tablespoon honey (use a local honey whenever possible as it helps combat local allergens)
- 1.5 teaspoons sea salt (or kosher - I experiment with salts for different flavors)
- 1 tablespoon dry active yeast (I buy the jar and keep it in the fridge, but 2 packets works as well)
- 4 cups all-purpose flour (plus or minus)
Combine water, honey, salt, and yeast to a glass or metal bowl and let sit about 10 minutes or until it starts to get a little frothy (that's the yeast working). Add in 3 cups of the flour and check for consistency. It should be sticky, but not sticking so much to your hand as you mix. If it is still sticking to your hand, add in 1/2 cup increments until it isn't so sticky.
Oil your pan and place your loaf, covering with a clear dish towel to raise on the counter for 20 minutes or so. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees and bake (I bake mine in what most people call a dutch oven/cast iron pot) for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and crusty on the outside. Serve hot or cooled later...but hot and buttered is my favorite.
*Sometimes I add these flavor combinations:
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest and 2 teaspoons herbs d'provence
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder and 2 teaspoons dry basil
- try sliced green olives, roasted garlic cloves, or sun-dried tomatoes