Crusty Fluffy Bread: Recipe #125

Two secrets I’ve learned about how to make bread that’s crusty on the outside while soft and fluffy inside. Knead it for longer than you think, and use your moisture carefully: rise in a dry, warm place and bake with a steamy oven that has been preheated with a pan of water in it. This crusty fluffy bread came out so tasty, our most particular eater Kathleen asked for 4 helpings!

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($1.50 per loaf)

1 tbsp active dry yeast – $0.50
1 tsp sugar – $0.02
1/2 cup hottest tap water – free
3/4 cup water – free
1 tsp salt – $0.03
1/4 cup olive oil – $0.40
4 cups flour – $0.64

Directions for Crusty Fluffy Bread

1. In a small non-metal bowl, mix the yeast, sugar, and hottest tap water. Stir gently and let sit for 5 minutes to bloom into a thick foam.

Then add the rest of the ingredients and work it into a nice ball of dough. Knead for 10 minutes on a lightly floured board (set a timer) and the dough will be nice and smooth and soft. Put in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and set in a warm dry place for 2 hours to triple in size.

2. Punch the dough down well and knead for 2 minutes to get out all the air. Press it out into a rectangle and fold the ends in towards the middle, then roll it up across the fold to make a nice tight spiral. Let it rise at room temperature for 1-2 hours until doubled in size.

After it’s risen, gently rub some water over the surface, sprinkle with flour, and cut a few nice diagonal gashes into the top of the dough.

3. Put a shallow pan of water in the oven while it’s preheating to 425F. Bake the bread for 25 minutes in the hot steamy oven, then turn the temperature down to 400F for 10 more minutes without opening the oven door.

Cool for a few minutes on a wire rack. The bread will be nice and dark and crusty outside and soft and fluffy inside. Serve warm with whatever toppings you like on fresh bread. If there’s any left over, it makes excellent toast the next day.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per person: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 1 = eat rarely (refined flour)
  • TOTAL: 15/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

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