This recipe is tasty! I was sitting next to a friend at choir rehearsal who was describing this super easy and tasty bread recipe and I knew I had to try it out. Apparently the recipe first showed up in the NY Times from Mark Bittman, but I found this version at Steamy Kitchen.
First, I had to hit the store because I did not have bread flour or instant yeast. This recipe is super easy, but it is not super fast. You have to start the dough the night before and you need to have a couple hours of raising time the day that you want to bake it. You don't need a fancy mixer, but you should have an enamel cast iron baking dish with a lid that can handle oven temps of 450 degrees.
3 C. bread flour (I used King Arthur)
1/4 t. instant yeast
1 tsp. salt (table)
1 1/2 C. warm water
In a med/large bowl add all the dry ingredients and stir. Add the water and stir it up until you get a messy lump of dough. Cover with plastic wrap and set on the counter overnight.
The next day the bowl will have a light and fluffy dough. I laid out a dish towel and sprinkled it generously with flour and then dumped the contents of the bowl onto the towel. I used the edges of the towel to form the dough into a ball, then wrapped the cloth around it to let it rise for a couple hours.
As instructed by the Steamy Kitchen, the last 30 minutes of raising, I preheated the oven to 450 degrees with the baking dish inside the oven. I dumped the dough from the towel onto a piece of parchment paper and slipped it into the pot. Put the lid on the pot and bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, take the lid off and bake for another 10-15 minutes until it is a beautiful golden color. Remove it from the pot and let it cool on a wire rack. NOTE: After seeing America's Test Kitchen do this bread too, they didn't pre-heat the pot and it seemed to work fine. Last time I did the bread, after I shaped the dough into a ball, I placed it on the parchment and right into my cast iron pot to rise and put it in the 450 degree oven when it was ready. Seemed fine. I also had a cold house that day, so I put the pot in the powder room with a space heater...it made it rise nice and fast).
I bundled up this gorgeous loaf of bread up with some homemade strawberry jam and a dishtowel that I imprinted with the Citrasolve method and took it as a gift to some good friends. When she served it at dinner, everyone wanted to know which bakery I had stopped at to pick it up! One friend immediately wanted to know how to make it because it reminded her of the kind of bread her husband loves from Portugal. So, it was a hit! Try it out, you will not be sorry :)