Hi there! Yes you! Welcome to my food blog! (Gosh that feels weird to write down) More specifically, welcome to my first blog post!
Now you might think that going through the process of setting up a food blog was difficult, but I’m telling you, picking out what would be my first post was also quite the task. I couldn’t decide on which type of cuisine I wanted to showcase first (as I adore them all) so I went with the most basic staple in my diet; bread.
One of the perks I’ve experienced since becoming vegetarian (ish), is that I have way more flexibility with my daily calorie intake. I never realized how many calories were in meat before! … and now some of those calories
can should be allocated to bread and other yummy things.
This recipe makes 2 smaller loaves. If you decide to make more, the recipe can easily be doubled and the dough can be stored in a plastic container in the fridge until ready to use (up to 3 days).
This recipe takes around a total of 4 hours, so you might need to plan ahead. But as I said, you can store the dough in your fridge so that leaves you some flexibility.
First, mix the yeast, sugar and salt in with the water and let it stand and start the next step.
Then, place the flour in a big bowl if you will be mixing the dough by hand, or in a stand mixer.Mix everything together, then place your dough in an oiled bowl and let it rise for at least 2 hours. Once the dough is ready, it should look like this:
Flour your work surface and shape your bread. This is where you can really have some fun. There are no restrictions, you can make a round or square loaf, this is completely up to you! Personally, I find that not using a bread pan really helps achieving the look of a rustic artisan bread, the less perfectly shaped loaf the better!
In this case I knew I wanted to split it in two loaves and to add herbs to one of them.
Once your loaves are ready, cover them with a dishcloth and let them rest from 50 to 90 minutes, the longer you wait the best inside structure your bread will have.
Bake your bread for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
PRACTICE YOUR PATIENCE; don’t eat the bread fresh out of the oven! I know… This seems like an impossible task, but cutting it right away will leave the bread with a gummy interior.
- 3 ½ cups of all purpose flour
- 1 ¾ cups of lukewarm water
- 2 tsp of active dry yeast
- 2 tsp of sea salt
- 1 tsp of sugar
- 1 tbsp of dried herbs of your choice optional
Mix together yeast, salt and sugar.
Poor water in a big bowl (if doing by hand) or in your stand mixer.
Mix the yeast mixture in the water and let stand for 5-10 minutes, or until you see bubbles forming on the surface.
Add the yeast mixture to the flour and mix well, for a few minutes.
Oil a big bowl and drop your dough in it!
Cover the bowl with a cloth or plastic wrap and let it rise for at least 2 hours in a dry area.
After the rising time has passed, flour your work surface and take the dough out of the bowl.
This dough does not require kneading; I folded it over 2-3 times and made two somewhat even balls.
I decided to add some dried herbs to one; I used rosemary and oregano.
Shape the dough in the desired shape, to form round loaves you will need to tuck and roll the sides of the dough towards the tip of your fingers (towards the bottom of the loaf). You will need to repeat this step a few times to obtain the desired look and shape.
Let the dough rest for at least 50 minutes (although 90 minutes is best).
In the meantime you can prepare your baking sheet by placing a piece of parchment paper on it and sprinkle some flour or cornmeal.
Turn on your oven at 425° and place an empty cast iron on the bottom rack (you will understand why later).
Once the dough has rested, place the loaves on the parchment paper and slice the top of your loaves (this will make a more crispy crust, plus it looks cute!)
Place the baking sheet on the middle rack, and add about 1 cup of cold water to the cast iron, this will create steam in your oven and will make a crunchy, crispy, delicious crust!
Bake for about 30 minutes, it should be ready when it the crust is a rich brown color.
Let bread cool down before slicing!