I love this recipe, it is so easy. I was looking for a slow rise bread – they are thought to be easier to digest for people who have trouble with yeast or gluten sensitivities. And it has the added advantage of being super easy and almost fool-proof to make. Instant yeast is a must here, because the idea behind the slow rise is that the yeast has time fully flavor the bread and become more easily digestible.
Crusty Slow-Rise Bread
- 5 ½ cups unbleached flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 ¼ tsp instant yeast (instant is important)
- 2 cups + 2 tablespoons lukewarm water (about 95 degrees F)
Add yeast to water and allow to proof for about 1 minute. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl until well blended and smooth, about 1 minute. Let rest uncovered for 5 minutes.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead for two minutes. The dough should be smooth, tacky, not dry or sticky. Adjust by adding flour and water as needed.
Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or up to four days.
It makes two loaves. If you’d like to make loaves separately, you can divide into to equal pieces, cover and refrigerate separately.
Two hours before baking, remove from the refrigerator. Shape into desired loaf, spray lightly with oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise about 90 minutes until it’s increased 1 ½ times its original size.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees and remove plastic from bread. Just before baking, score with three slices across the bread with a sharp knife. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and place in hot oven. I add sesame seeds on the baking sheet and place the loaf on that so it doesn’t stick and has a nice sesame seed crust.
Add a tray of ice to a baking sheet and place on the rack underneath the bread to create a steam bath for the bread. This will give you a crispy, chewy crust.
Bake for 15 minutes, rotate pan and bake an additional 15 minutes, or until the bread reaches and internal temperature of 200 degrees F. For crisper crust, turn off the oven and leave the bread in an additional 5 minutes.
Remove to a bread board and let cool for 45 minutes (ok, seriously, if you can wait that long, you’re a better person than I – I’ve scorched my fingers more than once sneaking a fresh hot slice).