Apparently this recipe has been floating around for several years. I love baking bread so was initially skeptical about this recipe, however after making it once I was hooked. I still often make old skool bread, but this one is definitely a favourite.
Once you’ve got the hang of the recipe (which will happen the first time you make it) you can tweak the recipe – use different flours, add cheese, olives, herbs, garlic, or make a sweet loaf with dried fruit etc.
3 cups / 375 grams plain or baker’s flour
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon dried yeast
1 ½ cups / 375 mls warm water
New chux/ kitchen cloth
Large metal pot with a lid – Le Cruset etc
1. Mix the flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Stir on the water and mix with a large spoon, or your hands. Don’t over mix, it just needs to be blended together. The dough will be pretty sticky but don’t worry, that’s what you want. Lightly spray a sheet of cling wrap with olive oil and place over the dough – this stops the top from drying out while it’s proving. Let it rest in a warm place for 12 – 24 hours.
2. dust your bench with flour and turn the dough out onto it. Give it a very light knead for a few seconds. Open out a new chux / kitchen cloth and dust very generously with flour. Line the mixing bowl with this, with the flour facing out. Put the dough back into the bowl and sprinkle the top with flour. Don’t worry what the dough looks like, we are going for rustic. Cover again with oil-sprayed cling film, and leave to rise for 2 hours.
3. Preheat the oven to 210 degrees C, and place a large metal pot and lid in the oven to get really hot. When the pot is hot, remove from oven and place the dough in the pot. Once again, don’t worry if it looks messy, that’s all part of its charm. Dust with more flour if needed, put lid on and place back in the oven.
4. Cook for 30 minutes, remove the lid and cook for a further 15 – 30 minutes, depending on how dark and chewy you like your crust. Remove from oven and cool.