I took the time to think of a name for this recipe and Foolproof bread was the best I could think of, after all you literally can’t get this one wrong (unless you are exceptionally talented.) After you try this recipe you will be so proud of yourself … you will feel like never buying bread again…really. You will have a big crusty on outside, chewy on the inside loaf with big air bubbles in the middle. This recipe was a work in progress for a while, but now I feel like it needs no further improvement and it has evolved to a point where it is ready to be shared. It takes over 24 hours from start to finish but it is it almost effortless, it is all about allowing time and a pinch of yeast to do the magic.
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 tsp dry yeast
2 tsp salt
2 1/4 cups water
1 tsp oil corn for brushing
Make the dough: In a large bowl mix well the flour, yeast and salt. Add the water and mix again until well combined. You will have a very wet and sticky dough, don’t worry, that is fine. Cover with a plastic wrap and place the bowl in a cupboard, a microwave or an oven, free of draft.
Let in rise for 21 to 23h.
Brush another large bowl with oil and set aside. The dough should now look very bubbly, soft and sticky. Sprinkle some flour on you working surface and ‘pour’ the dough over it using a spatula to scrape it off the bowl if necessary. Fold it on itself a couple of times adding a bit of flour if too sticky. Transfer the dough to the oiled bowl and let rise a second time for 1 hour in a draft free place.
Bake: Place a Dutch over or a cast iron pot in the oven and set it on 250C/500F for at least 20-25 min. Quickly transfer the dough from the bowl to the hot Dutch oven, don’t worry if it look like a mess after, just shake the pot gently and it will take shape. Put on the lid on and bake for 30 min. Then remove the lid and bake uncovered for another 15 minutes or until crusty and golden brown.
Take the bread out of the oven, remove it from the pot (it will come out very easily) and let it cool on a wire rack. This will allow it to remain crusty.