The Best (and Easiest) Bread Dough Yet

PC+-+Kate+Sanderson

PC - Kate Sanderson

Kate Sanderson, Staff Writer

The Google search for “bread” has spiked to an all-time high during the week of April 5, amidst the nationwide attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19.  I, too, floured my hands and turned on the oven.  However, like many others, my loaves were dense and heavy, almost brick-like. 

I referenced Google, and stumbled upon a New York Times recipe posted back in 2006.  The bread machine and intensive kneading were my fatal mistakes. The bottom line is the less handling of the dough, in all steps, the better.  

Here is my adapted version: Gently mix 3 cups flour, ¼ teaspoon yeast, and 1 ¼ teaspoon salt.  Add 1 ½ cup water. Stir until combined. Do not knead and do not heavily mix.  Place in a bowl and cover.  Wait 18 hours.  This allows the dough to rise.  Do not place in the refrigerator, as the process of yeast fermentation will slow. Preheat the oven to 450° with a cast iron pan inside.  Place dough in the pan and cook for 25 minutes with the lid on. Take the lid off and cook for another 8-10 minutes.  

The resulting loaf is airy and light, has a satisfying crunch and is perfect with butter, jams, avocados, and as part of sandwiches.  I have successfully used the same recipe as pizza dough. The air bubbles and crunchy crust transfer. 

So when stocking up add flour, yeast, and (of course) butter, to your list, because the rise-time wait is worth it!