DSC01151To say I am excited to write about this would be a huge understatement!  I have finally found it – the BEST homemade artisan bread recipe there is.  The tastiest bread recipe there is.  And the EASIEST bread recipe there is.  As in, there is literally no way to mess this up.  It takes zero babysitting, and extremely minimal kneading.  It’s honestly a “Mix it and forget it” recipe.  Then it is a “Turn it out and roll it” recipe.  And then it is a “Bake it and eat it” recipe.  I wish I could take the credit for this, but the real genius behind this recipe is Jim Lahey (you can find his amazing book here).  Are you on board yet?  Still skeptical?  You really don’t believe I’ve found the BEST bread recipe there is?  Well, let me convince you…

First, let me say that I *want* to be that woman that makes the perfect bread every time I put flour and water and yeast together.  But, in a moment of brutal honesty, I have to say that I actually end up with something that smells amazing, but is only slightly edible some of the time.  Rarely do I have a loaf of bread that tastes as good as it looks IF it looks good at all!  But *this* recipe…?  This recipe is perfect because even bread-morons like me can make a beautiful AND delicious loaf of bread!

I found this recipe about a year ago, and have been using it ever since.   The coolest part about this bread is that you can add to it if you want!  Rosemary?  Yes!  Cheddar and jalapeños?  Yes!  Garlic?  YES!  Tinker with it.  Play with different flavors!  The best part is that it is EASY!

Oh – and did I mention that this recipe actually only takes 4 ingredients??!

Yeah.  You heard me.

Here’s what you’ll need:DSC01109

3c flour (I recommend all-purpose)
1 ¾ tsp salt
½ tsp yeast
1 ¾ c warm water (for those who need extra info, this is about 110 degrees, but no more!)

1) Mix together dry ingredients and then add the wet.  Stir until completely combined – it will be very wet and sticky dough.DSC01116
2) Cover with plastic wrap and walk away.DSC01117

That’s right.  WALK AWAY.

Don’t touch it for 12-18 hours.  Remember I said “Fix it and forget it” bread?  Well this is where you forget it.  Set the alarm on your phone to go off, and leave it alone.  When you come back, the dough should have doubled in size, and it will have darkened and have little bubbles in it. DSC01124 It will also smell perfectly yeasty like you want dough to smell.

3) Turn onto a *well* floured surface, sprinkle it with flour, and knead it four or five times (this dough is VERY sticky and will still be very wet, so flour your hands well too!!!). DSC01126DSC01128DSC01129
4) After you’ve kneaded it, take the outside edges and tuck them underneath.  It sounds confusing, but just take the edges and tuck it under itself until it is a nice ball of dough.  Put it on a very well-floured tea towel. DSC01133DSC01136(*forgive the glare…This picture would not turn out like I wanted, so I’m leaving it in just to show you that I actually *did* manage to get it on a towel haha*)

5) Cover with another well-flowered tea towel (NOT terry cloth) or plastic wrap and a dish towel, and leave for approximately 1 hour.
6) During this time, preheat the oven to 450 degrees *with* the pot/pan/dish you plan to use to bake the bread in inside the oven.  ***Keep in mind, this dish needs to have a lid***
7) Once the oven has preheated, carefully take the bread and flip it into the panDSC01138 DSC01139(I say carefully because your bread pan will also be 450 degrees!  I constantly burn myself, so I am warning those who are also accident prone like me!)  DSC01143(*This picture is also just to show you that it truly doesn’t matter how ugly this loaf looks after you get it in the pan – it will still turn out beautifully!  I PROMISE!!!*)

8) Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on.  Then take the lid off, and bake another 15 minutes.DSC01145DSC01146

The bread will be a beautiful golden color, and it will smell amazing!  And as much as I know you want to, do NOT cut the bread yet!  Let it sit and cool just a bit – this sounds unnecessary, but it’s worth it.  Really!

I don’t always promise perfection, but this recipe certainly is!  And once you try it, you will definitely agree that it is the BEST and the EASIEST bread recipe you’ve ever tried!!