Crusty Bread

What you need:

  • 1 packet dry active yeast, approx 2 1/4 teaspoons
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

What you do:

Mix dry yeast into a 1/4 cup warm water until it dissolves.  Let it sit for a bit until bubbles for, and yeast is totally dissolved.  Add remaining 1 cup warm water, flour, sugar and salt.  When dough starts to come together, add in olive oil and mix.  Pour dough out onto a well floured surface and knead for 5-8 minutes.  Dough should be tacky, but not sticky.  When dough is smooth and elastic, put it in a bowl with a little olive oil and swoosh it around to coat ball of cough.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 1-2 hours until its doubled in size.  

When dough has risen, punch it down and roll it into a long loaf.  Cut dough in half and either form into two bigger loaves, or 6 small sub rolls.  Coat a pizza peel, or wooden cutting board with corn meal and roll loaves lightly in the cornmeal.  With loves on the board, cover with plastic wrap and let rise again for 30-40 minutes. Before you put loaves in oven, put slice each one lengthwise down the center, only cutting into the dough about 1/4 inch.  

Heat oven to 425 degrees, and place loaves on a pizza stone or overturned cookie sheet, make sure you put the rack in the middle-lower half of the oven, too close to the top, and the crust outside will burn before the inside is fully cooked.  Cook for 10 minutes, or until the bottom of the bread sounds hollow when tapped on.  To make the inside chewier, and the crust,well, crustier...put a cake pan in the bottom of oven or on the bottom rack before you preheat it, and add water to it when you put the bread in.