JUST RELAX BREAD

ingredients
  • 14 oz. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. table salt
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 2 tsp dry active yeast
  • 1-3/4 cup lukewarm water (80° ≤ 110° F)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
supplies
  • a bowl,
  • a fork,
  • measuring spoons/cups,
  • a soup ladle,
  • parchment paper,
  • a tea towel,
  • a Dutch oven (Don’t have a Dutch oven? You can use the crock from a slow cooker plus a disposable lasagna pan.)
  • baking sheet (optional — this makes clean up easier. If you prefer, use your counter top) 
directions
  1. Preheat oven to “warm” (anywhere between 170° – 200° F).  Once the oven reaches the desired temperature, turn it OFF.
  2. While oven is preheating, proof your yeast.  Dissolve sugar into some or all the water.  Then gently stir in the yeast.  After about 10 minutes, you can use the yeasty water.  If you only used some water to proof your yeast, add more water to measure up to 1-3/4 cup.
  3. In your oven safe bowl, combine the flour and salt with your fork.  Slowly, start to add the yeast-sugar water.  I like to use a soup ladle because it measures about 1/2 cup.  Add some water, mix with fork.  Repeat until all the dough is moist.  You may or may not use all the water.
  4. Place a piece of parchment paper over your bowl.
  5. Dampen your tea towel and drape it over the parchment paper.  Move your dough bowl into it’s warm and cozy “room” (a.k.a. the oven which is now warm and turned OFF)
  6. After about an hour, your dough is ready to use.  Take the dough bowl out of the oven.  Preheat your oven to 425° F.  Then, place your dutch oven, with its lid on, into the oven and let it heat for 30 minutes.
  7. With well floured hands and a small bowl of flour at the ready, take the dough (or just pour it) out of the bowl onto a well floured baking sheet.
  8. Gently reshape the dough into a ball.  Heavily flour the dough and re-cover it with parchment paper and/or tea towel.  Let it rest and rise while your pot is heating up.
  9. After 30 minutes, with oven-mitted hands, remove pot from oven and take off the lid.  Coat the inside bottom of pot with 1 Tbsp olive oil.
  10. With well-floured hands, transfer the dough from the baking sheet (or your counter) to the hot, oiled pot.
  11. Replace the lid and bake for 30 minutes.
  12. Remove the lid and bake for another 5-10 minutes to brown it up a bit more.
  13. Remove pot from oven and tip the bread out of the pot.  Place on a cooling rack.  It will be easier to slice, the cooler it is.
  14. Enjoy!

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