I always have soft spots for bread especially those rustic, crusty looking ones. I am never a fan of bread until I came to America. As you know, I don’t have the luxury of having chee cheong fun , nasi lemak , curry laksa or roti canai for breakfast so I have to make do with 2 slices of whole wheat bread almost daily. Then I met Carlos, and he is the one that introduce me to sourdough bread or any type of rustic bread. He is a bread monster. He can eat bread for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I guess it is like us Asian that we can eat rice or noodles every day.
Anyway, let’s talk about this rustic bread. For me rustic bread means freeform looking, round, has a heavy crust, chewy interior and flavorful. It is made with minimal ingredients. The kind bread people used to make 100 of years ago. I like making this type of bread as it requires minimal work. I usually mix all the ingredients up (no kneading requires) before I go to bed and let it proof in the fridge overnight. The next day I just take it out, shape it, proof again and bake it. It is that simple and you will be rewarded with a homey, crusty loft of bread to go with your dinner or simply make sandwich out of it.
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (about 110 degrees)
1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast. Pour in warm water and stir mixture with a wooden spoon until a shaggy ball forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to rise in the refrigerator overnight.
2. The next day, take out the dough. Turn the dough out onto a well floured work surface. Shape the dough into a ball, put it in a line baking pan and cover the dough and let it proof again until dough in size.
3. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Put in a broiler pan or any baking pan into the bottom rack of the oven too. After the dough has rested and is ready to bake, dust the dough lightly with flour, and slash the top of the dough with serrated or very sharp knife. Put the bread into the oven, pour one cup of hot water into the broiler pan and shut the oven quickly to trap the steam.
4. Bake the bread until well browned, about 30 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into it.
Note: The dough can be pretty sticky so the work with it you have to dust your hand and work surface generously with flour.