Many skills that were useful during the Great Depression (1930s) have been forgotten. Unfortunately, they have a way of coming around to being necessary again, decades later…
If you wouldn’t call yourself a good cook or baker, this bread recipe is just what you need. Make a delicious loaf of bread with no particular skill required. All you need is three ingredients (plus water).
The Easiest Bread You’ll Ever Make
3 C All-Purpose Flour
½ Tbs salt
2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
1 ½ C warm water (105⁰ F)
In a large bowl gently mix the flour, salt and yeast together.
Add the water. (Be sure to check the temperature your water… too cold and it will impact the rise of the bread, and too hot and it will kill the yeast.)
With a spatula, mix until the ingredients are all combined and form a dough.
Cover with plastic wrap or a towel and leave on the counter to rise for at least three hours (up to 12 hours).
After your proofing time (3-12 hours), cover the top of the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Flour your hands and a work surface.
Turn the dough out onto the floured surface. (It will be sticky, so make sure you floured your hands.)
Do not knead or roll it out, but simply shape it into your desired shape. I usually opt for a round loaf.
Dust the top with flour and lightly score it with an X with a sharp knife.
Place a piece of parchment paper onto a pizza peel or a flat (non-rimmed) cookie sheet, then set the loaf onto the parchment paper.
Preheat the oven to 425⁰ F.
Put a cookie sheet or baking stone on the middle rack, and a rimmed pan on the bottom rack (below the other) in the oven while it preheats.
When the oven is up to temp, collect 7 ice cubes in a cup.
Working quickly (so as not to let the temperature drop too much), slide the loaf (parchment paper and all) onto the cookie sheet/baking stone on the middle rack, then pour the ice cubes into the pan below and close the oven door. (The reason for the ice cubes is that as they melt, they will steam and as a result, the crust of the loaf gets nice and crispy.)
Bake for 25 minutes (or until golden brown).
When you remove it from the oven set it on a cooling rack until it is cool enough to handle.
Slice and enjoy!
-You can skip the refrigeration time if you want or if you are pressed for time; though this chilling time makes the dough easier to handle.
-This is a no-knead recipe, be careful not to over work the dough.
-You can form the dough into any shape you like. You can make a round loaf or more of a longer loaf like a baguette or French bread.
-Storing a loaf or partial loaf in an old-school brown paper lunch bag will keep the loaf from getting soft, and help keep the crust crispy.
-This bread is delicious served by itself or with butter and/or jam.