I am grateful to Bob Scrofani for pointing out this simple bread recipe published on YouTube as Rustic Bread by “Flavors of Spain in the Southwest.” This is an experience report on how I did it and how you can, too.
The recipe is embedded in the video and in the comments, and it assumes you have a kitchen scale. There are hundreds of reasons to have one around, but I give the U.S. measure equivalents as well. The recipe uses all-purpose flour, and I use King Arthur for this. The cup/weight equivalent may vary for other flours.
This recipe takes very little work, but a bit of time, include 4 episodes of folding, 20 minutes apart. and a slow 12 hour rise.
- 1000 g all purpose flour (7 ¾ cups)
- 20 g salt (1 Tb plus ¼ tsp)
- 1/8 tsp yeast (they suggest 1 g, but yeast particles vary a lot between vendors)
- 780 ml water (26 oz) at 80˚
- A plastic storage container (with lid) that holds at least 12 cups.
You will also need either a 4 qt cast iron Dutch oven or an equivalent casserole dish. We used a 2.5 quart Corningware casserole dish, and it was plenty big enough. Our storage container held 21 cups, and the dough never rose more than halfway inside the container.
- Weigh out the flour in the storage container, and add the salt, yeast and water. Mix with your gloved hand. You can try a wooden spoon, but it doesn’t pick up the flour along the bottom as well. Mix until all the dough is cohesive. Cover for 20 minutes.
2. After 20 minutes, you can begin folding the dough over itself inside the container until it is together in the middle. Try to stretch it each time you pick up a corner. You can do this best with a moistened hand. Cover for another 20 minutes.
3. Repeat folding after 20 minutes
4. Repeat folding the 4th time after another 20 minutes.
5. Cover and allow to proof/rise for 12 hours. If you can’t bake it at that time, refrigerate the dough, covered until you can.
6. When you are ready to begin baking, put the casserole or Dutch oven into a 475˚ F oven to heat.
7. Turn out the dough on flour board and divide it into two. Fold and stretch each one into a ball, and put each ball in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap or a plastic bag and let it rise for an hour.
8. Remove one dough ball and flour it. Take out the baking dish and cover. Lay one dough ball into the disk, cover it and put immediately into the oven.
9. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 more minutes.
10. Remove the bread to a cooling rack. Make sure it is done by tapping on the bottom. You should hear a hollow sound. Be sure to let the dough cool at least 30 minutes.
11. Reheat the baking dish and cover in the oven and bake the second loaf the same way.
Even after all this baking and cooling, it is possible that the bread may be slightly damp. I suggest you slice it half an hour ahead of dinner to make sure the slices dry out.
If you have left-over bread, you can make it into very good toast. In fact, you can slice the whole loaf, freezing the slices and take out a few for toast any time you want.