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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Crusty Overnight Bread

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 cups water

The night before:
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast. Add water and mix until all the flour is mixed in. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside (not in the fridge) for 12-18 hours. 

The next day:
Heat oven to 450 degrees. When the oven has reached 450 degrees, place a cast iron pot with a lid in the oven* and heat the pot for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape (roughly) into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest while the pot is heating. Remove hot pot from the oven and drop in the dough. (I spray my hands with cooking spray first.) Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 10-15 minutes, depending on how dark you like your crust. Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.

*You don't have to have a cast iron pot for this. Anything that can take the heat, will hold at least 2.5 quarts, and has a tight-fitting lid will work. I use my Calphalon dutch oven or a round Corningware casserole dish. I've also heard of people successfully using clay pots with lids, a pizza stone with a bowl to cover the bread, the insert of a crock pot (as long as the lid's handle isn't plastic), or an old cast iron dutch oven. You could probably also use a baking dish covered with aluminum foil.