Kneading is not required, and this is a rule! Our rustic crusty bread recipe is incredibly simple, requiring only three ingredients that you most likely already have on hand. Combine flour, salt, yeast, and water in a mixing bowl. Allow it to rest for a while, then chill it. Remove some of it and allow it to rise before baking. The resulting crispy, full-flavored loaf may be the world’s easiest yeast bread. You won’t go wrong if you concentrate on technique.
Makes 2-3 loaves
2 tablespoons yeast
2 tablespoons sea salt
7 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
Combine 3 cups lukewarm water, yeast, and salt in a big mixing basin or plastic container Mix in the flour until there are no dry spots. The dough will be quite loose. Cover with a lid, but not one that is airtight. Allow dough to rise for 2-5 hours at room temperature.
At this point, bake or chill for up to two weeks, covered. Sprinkle a little flour on the dough and cut off a grapefruit-size piece with a serrated knife when ready to bake. Turn the dough in your hands to spread it out and make a spherical top and a bumpy bottom. Place dough on a cornmeal-dusted pizza peel and set aside for 40 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough or place it in the refrigerator.
Place the broiler pan on the bottom shelf of the oven. Preheat oven to 230C or 450F and place baking stone on center rack; heat stone for 20 minutes at that temperature.
Using a serrated or very sharp knife, slash the top of the dough three times. Place your foot on the stone. To trap steam, pour one cup hot water into the broiler pan and close the oven rapidly. Bake for 30 minutes, or until nicely browned. Allow to cool completely.