bread7I will never forget the taste of fresh, crusty bread that my grandmother used to make when we were small kids. There was nothing better in this world than a huge slice of her bread, with home-made butter and home-made white cheese, and some salt and pepper. The white cheese is on my list to do this year for sure but I first wanted to start with something more simple. There are hundreds of recipes for all kinds of bread. My goal was to get a small loaf with a very crunchy and crispy crust. This recipe is to some extent inspired by American Test Kitchen’s but without beer addition and I love the fact that there is no work involved with making this bread. The only bad thing is that you have to be patient, because the growing process takes an extended amount of time. But there is almost no kneading involved, just waiting until it grows and then putting it in the oven.

Serving: 12 slices
Preparation: minimum 12 hours
Cooking : 45-50 minutes
Calories for 1 slice – 110

Ingredients:
14 oz bread flour/400g or 2 ¾ cup, sifted, plus extra for sprinkling the working surface
12 oz/340g or 1 ½ cup cold water
¾ teaspoon of instant yeast
1 teaspoon of table salt
1 teaspoon of sugar

Add sifted flour, instant yeast and sugar to a large bowl and mix it. Add salt at the end because if you put it directly on yeast it will kill it. Stir it all together and add water. Stir all the ingredients together for about 1 minute until combined. The dough will be very sticky at this point. Cover it with a plastic foil and put it aside for at least 12 hours. You can do it late in the evening and then the following day, when you get back from work, just finish it up.
kolaz sponge
On the day of baking take the dough out and put it on a floured work surface.
kolaz shaping dough
Knead the dough for about 2 minutes until it forms a smooth round ball by tucking it under itself.
Use another bowl and add a teaspoon of canola oil to cover the bottom and edges.

second rising
Transfer the dough into the bowl with the seam side down. Cover it with a kitchen towel and let it rest for another 2 hours. Put it in a warm place and let it rise until it almost double its original size.
Place the oven rack on lower medium position and preheat the oven to 500F/260C with your cast iron Dutch oven inside with a lid on top. Spray the inside with canola oil or vegetable oil. For this amount of dough the best size would be a 9-inch pot. The larger the pot you use, the flatter your loaf will get.

scoring kolaz
When the dough has risen and your pot is in the preheated oven, get a 12-14 inch piece of parchment paper and put it on your work surface. Sprinkle the top side with flour. Slide the dough out of the oiled pot onto the parchment paper.
Score the dough on the top with either two lines or an X sign with a sharp paring knife or razor. Using the parchment paper, gently transfer the dough into the preheated Dutch oven, cover it with a lid and bake it for 30 minutes.
You can leave the parchment paper sticking out of the pot. Be careful when lifting the lid because it’s super hot!
After 30 minutes, take the lid off and leave in the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes. Change the temperature to 450F/230C.

bread kolaz
When the loaf is done take it out of the oven and, using the parchment paper again, take the bread out of the Dutch oven and let it rest for at least 2 hours before you slice it. The internal temperature of the bread should be at 210F/98C.

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12 Comments

  1. I am going to have to try this. Perfect thing for this cold weather. I would never have thought of baking it in my dutch oven. I bet it really adds to the chewy crust which I happen to love!

  2. Super!
    Just need to go get some instant yeast. Oh, and my goats need to start milking again, so I can make a good cheese to go with it.

  3. Oooo, I love trying different bread recipes!

  4. Quick question, if I start it tonight, do I let it sit in the fridge or out?

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  6. I have tow dutch ovens, one is 10 1/2 inches the other is 8 1/2. Which would you recommend? Wound I have to adjust baking time do you think?

    • use the smaller one. The amount of dough isn’t enough for the 10 1/2 inches. And start watching the bread when you take the lid off. This is when you might need to adjust the timing but otherwise no bigger changes.

  7. Wow! Hands down, easiest most delicious bread recipe, ever!

  8. I made a loaf today! It is awesome. Thank you for the recipe. I used mostly organic white wheat flour, which is whole grain but not as dark and heavy as traditional hard red wheat used in the US. Yummy!!!

  9. I just had a revelation! I am going to bake this bread and use it to make a classic muffuletta sandwich. Good game day food!

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