The quickest yeast bread you'll ever make. Warm, fresh, crusty on the outside and soft on the inside, delicious home made bread in just over an hour and for about $1.
5-6 cups all-purpose flour (you can substitute whole wheat flour for 1 or 2 cups)
2 tablespoons dry yeast (regular, NOT rapid rise, yeast)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups hot water (120° to 130°) Note: water temperature is critcial to proper yeast activation
1. Grease the Deep Covered Baker and the bowl that you'll let the bread rise in. Set aside.
2. Combine 4 cups of the flour, the yeast, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the hot water and three minutes with a mixer (or 100 stokes by hand). Add the remaining flour (I've never needed to add more than 1 cup) until the dough is no longer sticky. Knead* the dough for 8 minutes on a floured surface, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking.
3. Place the dough in the greased bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let rise 15 minutes. Remove dough to floured surface, punch or fold down** (3 minutes should do it) and shape into a large loaf. Place the dough in deep covered baker.
Cut a slit about 1/2 inch deep along the top of the loaf and several small slits on either side of the first slit. It will look a little like a branch with leaves when you are done.
4. Put the lid on the baker and place in a COLD oven. Turn oven to 400° and bake for 50 minutes. Remove from overn, uncover, gasp in amazement, remove loaf from baker to cool on a rack.
Cook's Tip: to slice bread set it on it's side and cut wth a serrated bread knife. By cutting from the side you avoid crushing the flaky top crust.
Note: this recipe makes a VERY LARGE loaf (over 5 inches tall x 7 inches wide x 10 inches long). The Deep Covered Baker has a 3.1 QT capacity. If you use an alternate to the Deep Covered Baker please makes sure it's large enough for the recipe!
Need a little help? These videos help illustrate kneading and punching down the bread. Note that videos are referenced to illustrate techniques only, they are NOT part of the recipe.
* Kneading bread: http://youtu.be/dWj8oHMPFm0
** Punching down bread: punching or folding down bread is an important technique for I prefer the gentler folding and rolling down process, but either will do. http://youtu.be/tsCqZMCLqnU