Crusty Fluffy Bread
- Oven temp 425F/220C
- 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
- 1 tsp brown sugar or honey
- ½ cup hot water (100-110F or hot to the touch)
- ¾ cup water (room temperature)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 cups white flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp salt
Make the dough for the first rise
- In a small non-metal bowl, mix the yeast, sugar, and hottest tap water. Stir gently and let it sit for 5 minutes to bloom into a thick foam.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and work it into a nice ball of dough.
- Knead it for at least 10 minutes on a lightly floured board (set a timer) until the dough is nice and smooth and soft.
- Put it in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel, and set in a warm dry place for 2 hours to triple in size.
Shape the dough for the second rise
- 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. Shape the rolled dough into a loaf shape and put the seam side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Cover gently with a tea towel, and 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 and sprinkle it with flour. Cut a few nice diagonal gashes into the top of the dough with a sharp knife, being careful not to knock the air out of the dough.
Bake the bread
- Put a shallow pan of water in the oven on the bottom rack 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 the bread for a few minutes on a wire rack. It 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. ❤️