If you’ve visited the site before, you know I love to bake. However I’m not always the best planner. That means, I may decide to make a nice dinner one day and realize I want to also make some fresh bread. And how many recipes ask you to have overnight rises, or multiple rises? You don’t have time for that when you’ve JUST decided to make bread for a dinner that is taking place that very evening! So below is my really easy, but amazing bread recipe which only needs about 2 hours of rise time! Perfect for making the day of!
I love to use my dutch oven for baking bread. It comes out amazingly crisp and beautiful. However, it’s not fully necessary if you don’t have one. You can always bake your bread on a sheet pan! I also prefer to use my standup mixer with a dough hook because it’s quick and clean; but you can fully make this dough by hand if you don’t have a stand mixer. This bread dough is so versatile – you really can make it without any special tools!
- 4 – 5 cups of all-purpose or bread flour.
- 2 ¼ teaspoons (one standard pouch) of yeast (dry active or instant work!)
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 2 cups of warm water (no warmer than 110 degrees F – water that is too hot can kill your yeast)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- In a large bowl (or bowl of your stand mixer if using) add yeast, sugar and water.
- Cover and allow to sit until foamy (about 10 minutes).
- Once foamy, add 4 cups of flour and salt.
- Mix using a dough hook on your stand mixer or by hand (get in there and get messy!)
- The other cup of flour needs to be used at your discretion. Add tablespoon by tablespoon until your bread is still sticky, but able to be handled and shaped by your hands. You may not need the entire cup!
- Prepare a large bowl (with space for your dough to about double in size!) by brushing the sides with a bit of olive oil.
- Add your dough to the olive oil brushed bowl and rub the dough on the olive oil so there is a light coating of oil on the dough.
- Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Warmth and darkness helps the yeast to do its job!
- Allow to rise in a draft-free area for for 2 hours.
- After 2 hours, “punch” the air out of the dough gently, then shape and place the dough onto a parchment sheet on the countertop. Sprinkle with a dusting of flour and cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rest and rise a bit more while you prepare the oven.
- If you’re using a dutch oven, place the covered pot into your oven while preheating.
- Preheat the oven to 450.
- Once pre-heated remove the dutch oven, uncover and lift the dough up using the parchment and place parchment and dough into the dutch oven.
- If you’re using a sheet pan – there is no need to preheat the pan – just follow the directions as is but use the sheet pan for your parchment and dough.
- Slice the top of the dough with a very sharp knife to ensure even cooking throughout.
- Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove the cover and bake for another 10 minutes and allow the bread to nicely brown..
- Cool on a wire rack and slice once cooled.