Hold on folks, it’s a bread post! That means lots of photos and by the time you get to the end you will be grabbing for the butter.
Why don’t I do this more often. I forget how easy it is to make crusty homemade bread like this and that it is like the besssst thingggg everrrr. Especially when you add butter. And go all bistro-like with a touch of Herbs de Provence. This bread is just amazing.
This is a classic recipe for crusty bread with a perfect, chewy-bready-pillowy inside. This recipe would be perfect for bread bowls and is exactly the kind of bread I would stick in the bread baskets if I had a restaurant. …which I don’t, but if I did.
So like most bread recipes, we can break this recipe down into three parts…first rise, second rise, and the baking.
First, the dough is started as a pretty loose and wet dough. So loose and wet you’ll think you screwed up. But you didn’t. Just trust. (I reduced the size on this photo a bit. At full size on the computer screen, it was a bit disturbing)
Then we give the dough a nice, long first rise… and we’re still wet and loose at this point. (I sure hope my dough descriptions are never taken out of context)
Then we turn the dough out and get in a little more flour and you can see the first inkling that the dough is starting to get some structure.
We form our lovely little loaves and let them sit for a bit to rise some more. The key is just keep everything floured, and the dough will take in what it needs.
Then to get our beautiful crusty loaves of bread, we cook on the pizza stone (along with a stand-mixer, this is another kitchen must-have I think) in a screaming hot oven. And boom. We’ve got the warm, crusty, buttery bread we dreamed of.
- 3 c warm water
- 1-1/2 T yeast
- 1/2 T honey
- 1 T kosher salt
- 4 T unsalted butter, melted
- 1 t garlic powder
- 3 t Herbs de Provence
- 886 g bread flour (~6-1/2 c)
- In a large bowl, add the water and yeast. Let the yeast proof 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and stir/knead 9-10 minutes until dough is smooth, wet, and just slightly elastic. I use the dough hook on the mixer to do this, but it can be done the old fashioned way with a wooden spoon.
- Cover the bowl with a damp towel and put the dough to rise in a warm place for 2 hours. To do this, I turn on my oven for 2 minutes, turn the oven off, then stick the bowl in there.
- Use a rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl onto a floured surface. Flour the top of the dough and knead it just a couple times to get it into a nice, smooth mound. Divide and form the dough into 4 loaves. Let them rise 1 hour.
- Heat the oven to 450F with a pizza stone in the oven. Cook the bread loaves 30 minutes or until browned and crusty. On my pizza stone, I fit two loaves at a time. Move the cooked bread to a rack to cool. Serve that day or wrap in foil to freeze for later. Yields 4 loaves.