Simple Life, Simple Ingredients: Homemade Rustic Country Bread
Simple Life = Simple Ingredients
This bread is so fun to bake and makes the best avocado toast you will ever taste. This loaf costs essentially less than a dollar to make and has only 5 ingredients! Part of simple living for me means baking my own breads because I get to choose the ingredients that go in it. Store-bought breads can have 17+ ingredients and additives, all things that I do not want in my body and are absolutely unnecessary to have in bread! Real bread is flour, salt, water, yeast, and maybe a little bit of sugar. No additives or preservatives here! We’re getting back to the basics, because simple living means simple ingredients.
(The recipe I use and am sharing is slightly revised from this recipe)
WHAT YOU NEED:
2.25 teaspoons of organic active yeast
1 teaspoon of organic unrefined cane sugar
1.25 cups of warm filtered water (between 100 and 110℉)
1.5 teaspoons of sea salt
2.5 cups of organic all purpose flour
Yields: 1 Loaf
Combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water into your mixing bowl and let the yeast proof for about 5 minutes or until it's foamy. Ideally you want your water to be between 100 and 110°F. Any colder and your yeast won't foam, any hotter and you'll kill the yeast.
After your mixture is foamy, add in the salt and attach your bowl to the mixer. Slowly add in the flour while mixing with a dough hook. (I like to alternate between the paddle and dough hook when needed). When it comes to making bread, the dough may be too sticky or too dry depending on where you live, humidity, and the weather. You may have to add more water or more flour depending. You want your dough to be elastic-like, but not sticky. (Don't worry if you are unsure at first. Practice makes perfect when it comes to the art of bread making. After time, you will come to discover what the perfect dough consistency is.)
Once your dough is mixed and smooth, form into a ball and lightly coat with flour. Place the ball of dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel, and let rise in a warm place. (I like to heat up my oven a bit and turn it off to create a warm environment for my dough to rise. You can also place it in the warm sunshine if possible) Let your dough rise for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
After your dough is doubled in size, on a clean, floured surface, gently tip dough out of the bowl (using wet hands may help with this step if it’s sticking to the sides of the bowl). Do not punch down the dough! We want the air bubbles in this type of bread.
Begin forming the dough into a loaf shape by folding in the edges over and over. Check out this video for a visual of the technique.
Gently place the dough into a greased bowl (or proofing basket, but not necessary) again, letting it rise for about 30 minutes. During this time, place your dutch oven in the oven and preheat it to 460°F. (If you don't have a dutch oven, an oven-safe stainless steel pot with a lid works great as well)
Once your dough is proofed, you can coat with sifted flour and score if if desired.
Once your oven is heated and dutch oven is warmed up, carefully take out the dutch oven (using oven mitts of course), remove the lid, and CAREFULLY place the loaf of bread in. Cover with the lid and place back into your oven.
Cook with the lid on for 30 minutes. Cooking with the lid on creates a steamy environment for the bread which will give it its delicious crusty crust. After the 30 minutes, remove the lid and cook 10-20 more minutes uncovered until the crust is a deepened brown.
Remove the bread carefully from the dutch oven with a spatula of sorts and place on a cooling rack. Allow to cool at least 20 minutes before digging in!
This bread is delicious toasted with dairy-free cream cheese + jam, avocado toast, or the base of a delicious veggie sandwich.