There’s nothing quite like a warm piece of crunchy-on-the-outside but soft inside homemade bread. While I’ve bowed down to basically the entire country of France for their bread game, this homemade version will hold its own. One because it’s fresh and two because you made it with your own two hands. Smother it in fresh butter or drizzle it with honey. Pretty much anything tastes better on top of it. And while I’ve made this version with spelt flour, you can use white flour for a more traditional outcome. Mine was a little denser but still hearty and tasty.
4 cups flour
1 1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon active yeast
2 teaspoons salt
course sea salt
Combine the water with your yeast in your measuring cup. In your mixer bowl, combine the flour and salt. Pour in the water and yeast and mix on medium speed using your dough hook until your dough looks smooth and you can see through it when stretched.
Once your dough is thoroughly mixed cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise until it’s twice it’s size, this should take roughly four hours.
Flour a surface and work the dough by kneading it. This helps move the yeast around a bit. Shape it into a ball and cover it with a towel. Let the dough stand for ten minutes before rolling the dough into a tight ball.
Grease the bottom and sides of a large Dutch oven with vegetable oil. Then place the dough in the middle of the Dutch oven and cover it with its lid. Let it sit (and rise) for an hour. Then preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Drizzle a little olive oil on the dough and rub it so it’s covering the entire surface. Score the top of the bread with a knife and sprinkle with course sea salt. Be liberal with the salt, it tastes delicious on the final product.
With the lid on, bake for thirty minutes then remove the lid and reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Bake for an additional fifteen minutes. Remove from the oven and place the bread on a wire rack. Let it sit for thirty minutes to make sure the inside of the bread finishes cooking.
Definitely dive in while it’s still warm. Don’t worry about slicing it perfectly either, this type of bread was meant to be ripped and dipped in pesto or spicy tomato oil or spread with fresh butter. Enjoy!