In my constant quest for breads and other baked goods that are quick to make and great to eat, I occasionally stumble across a real winner. This is one of those breads! The total “active involvement” time by the baker is really small; possibly 20 minutes, at the outside. While it does require an overnight rise, you don’t have to look in on it while it’s doing its rise thing. Just sleep well, knowing that in the morning you’ll have some great dough to play with!
1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons) dry yeast
1 ½ cups warm water
1 ½ teaspoons salt
3 cups of either bread flour or all purpose flour, plus a bit more for dusting the top of the bread after it has risen
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water in a large mixing bowl.
Add the flour, then the salt to the yeast water, and mix thoroughly
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest, at room temperature, for at least 12-14 hours. The longer you let it go, the better it will be! The dough will be loose and bubbly, but that’s what you’re looking for.
Dust a cutting board with some flour, scrape or roll the dough out onto it. Sprinkle a bit of dough on the top, and get your hands nice and floured to help in handling this wet, sticky mass.
Don’t knead it; merely fold it over on itself a couple of time and shape it into a ball. Hold it in both hands and use your thumbs to pull around on the edges of the dough and fold it underneath; turning the dough as you work your way around it.
Place the ball on a piece of parchment paper, cover with a towel, and let sit for another 1 ½ hours.
About an hour into this second rise, preheat the Dutch oven (and its top) to 450 degrees.
Once the second rise is complete and the oven is ready, remove the Dutch oven, remove its lid, and using the edges of the parchment paper, lift the dough up and set it into the Dutch oven.
Make three slashes across the bread, sprinkle lightly with flour, replace the lid, and put it back in the oven.
Bake with the cover on for 20 minutes; remove lid and bake for another 20 minutes, until the bread is nice and brown.
Remove loaf from Dutch oven, and slide it off the parchment paper and onto a wire rack for about an hour (if you can stand to wait that long!).
This bread has the “Charlie/Chuck Seal of Approval.”