Yield: 1 Large loaf.
Time Estimate: 3 hours, including 2 1/2 hours cooking time.
Storage Notes: Will keep for up to five days if stored in an airtight container.
Difficulty: Surprisingly easy.
This is the first bread we ever made, and remains the one that we make the most frequently. Sure, it takes a couple hours of advance planning, but it's very straightforward, and if you've never made bread bread before, well, we can only tell you the satisfaction that comes from a well made loaf fresh out of the oven, made by you. This recipe yields a country-style loaf, applicable for dipping bread or hearty farmer's sandwiches. If you're looking for a bit more heat and complexity, considering double the Taste of Provence Seasoning and Crushed Red Pepper Flakes.
For The Bread
7 Cups all purpose white flour
3 Cups lukewarm distilled water
3 Tbs Gustus Vitae Taste of Provence Seasoning
3 Tbs Gustus Vitae Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
2 Tbs Gustus Vitae Red Cayenne Sea Salt
1 1/2 sachets active dry yeast
For the Compound Butter
2 Sticks unsalted butter
1 1/2 Tbs Gustus Vitae Taste of Provence Seasoning
1 1/2 Tbs Gustus Vitae Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 1/2 Tbs Gustus Vitae Red Cayenne Sea Salt
- Add all ingredients to the biggest bowl you have, making sure the water is warm, not hot.
- Mix well to combine with your hands.This should take between 4-5 minutes, at which time you'll have a big, sticky jelly bean shaped lump of dough. This is good.
- Cover bowl with saran wrap, and allow to rest for 1 hour.
- Give the newly risen dough another mix with your hands to combine all elements - think the outside goes in, middle to sides, etc. Cover, and rest again for 1 hour.
- Now's a good time to make the compound butter. Remove butter from fridge, place in a medium bowl with Red Cayenne Sea Salt, Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, and Taste of Provence Seasoning, and lightly microwave (:30 seconds or so). Using a fork, combine butter into a solid mass with spices/salt.
- Cut a large square of saran wrap. Top with butter mix, and spread into an oblong tube. Rolling, cover with saran wrap. Twist ends to tighten - you're looking to make a little butter-sausage looking tube. Refrigerate until needed.
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- While oven is warming, prepare a large baking tray (we used a cake pan for ours) of approximately the shape you'd like your bread to be. Rub the bottom and sides of this tray with butter, or if you prefer, a neutral cooking oil like canola.
- Arrange loaf in tray/pan, and dust lightly with flour. At this point you'll want to score your loaf - doing this helps with the final bake, or so we're told. We know at least that it it look cool and like you know what you're doing. There are all sorts of ways to do this - what works for us is short, deliberate cross strokes with a sharp knife, going around 1" deep. There doesn't seem to be a 'wrong' way to do this, so make whatever pattern strikes your fancy.
- Pop in oven, and cook for around 30-40 minutes.
- Remove, and allow 30 minutes for it to cool before slicing, serving with compound butter.