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Crusty Artisan Bread -Tweaking Jim Lahey’s Method


Artisan bread in minutes was a thing years ago, creating a sensation and bringing fresh-baked bread to ordinary home cooks who didn’t have all day. Then, Jim Lahey, the owner of NYC Sullivan Street Bakery, made things even easier, with the technique of using a covered dutch oven to create a crispy crust in an ordinary home oven.

This version tweaks his basic recipe a bit. I add a little rye (or whole wheat) flour so the flavor isn’t so white and omit several steps (like the flour-dusted tea towel and cornmeal base). It’s still insanely easy (even easier, really) and is guaranteed to impress you and your guests every time.

The only catch is you need to plan ahead. I like to mix it up at night and let it rest until I’m ready the following day as it needs 12-24 hours to be ready to bake. Other than waiting for the yeast to do its thing, there’s only a few minutes of actual hands-on cooking time.

Truly, there is nothing like fresh bread to make your kitchen smell divine and your belly feel satisfied.

Crusty Artisan Bread -Tweaking Jim Lahey's Method

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Cups Organic Bread or All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Cup Organic Whole Rye (or Wheat) Flour
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Active Powdered Dry Yeast
  • 1 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 1/2 Cups Very Warm Water

HOW TO MAKE IT:

  1. Mix dry ingredients well and add hot water until all flour is absorbed, forming a wet ball of dough.
  2. Place in a large bowl or food-safe plastic container and cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap so the dough isn't exposed to air. You can also use cooking spray. The idea is to prevent the dough from sticking too much to the plastic as it rises. Let sit 12-24 hours in a warm place (like the top of the refrigerator or anywhere that is around 70-80 degrees.)
  3. After 12-24 hours, the dough will be bubbly. Turn out quickly on a floured surface and quickly form into a ball, bringing shaggy ends underneath. Place on a sheet of parchment paper and let rise from 30-90 minutes, covering loosely with the plastic wrap from the dough.
  4. Heat oven to 500°F and place a dutch oven with a tight cover in the oven for 20-30 minutes so that the pot is nice and hot.
  5. Slice three shallow (1/8 inch) slits on top of the bread. Remove the heated pot from the oven and quickly slide the dough (including the paper) into the pot, cover and return to the oven.
  6. Bake 25 minutes covered. Remove the cover and bake 10 minutes more until the crust is golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven and let bread cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing to set texture.

Enjoy!

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