Artisan Bread

I had to post this recipe for "Crusty Bread" (or its fancy name....Artisan Bread) from a blog called "Simply So Good" because it is so delicious that I fear eating the whole loaf. Pre-warning, this recipe takes a lot of time, but it is well worth it in the end. As you can see by the picture, the loaf came out super crunchy on the outside, and moist in the center (just how bread should be). I don't have a dutch oven, so I used a stainless steel pot with a lid to bake it. My suggestion is to follow this recipe exactly, but have fun with some of the seasonings. I flavored my bread with lemon, pepper and rosemary but the possibilities are endless. I am so happy that I found this recipe because I will certainly be making bread like this from now on. The picture is straight from the blog, so I have no rights to it.

Ingredients (makes 1 loaf....I suggest doubling this and make 2 loaves because you are going to wish you had anyways!):
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 tsps salt (I used 1 tsp sea sat)
1/2 tsp yeast (I used traditional)
1 1/2 cups water

1) Whisk flour, salt and yeast together in a large bowl. This would also be the time to add some of your favorite seasonings.
2) Add water and whisk together with a fork. The batter is going to look too dry, and slightly odd because it does not combine well. Just whisk it around for a few minutes until the flour is mostly combined and then leave it alone.
3) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough stand for 12-18 hours. I started this recipe before I went to bed and then finished it in the afternoon the next day (so about 15 hours). Many people commented that you can leave it for even longer than 18 hours.

4) Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees. Place a dutch oven, or a lidded stainless steel pot, empty, in the oven for 15 minutes. While your pot is heating, turn the very, VERY, sticky dough out on to a heavily floured surface. Sprinkle some flour on top and additional seasonings, if using. The original recipe states that you can form the dough into a circle, but I skipped that step and it turned out fine in the end. Cover the dough with plastic wrap while your pot heats through.
5) Once the pot is heated, carefully remove it from the oven (....I burned my hand pretty bad). Turn the dough into the very hot pot. DO NOT GREASE THE POT. I promise the bread will not stick.
6) Bake the bread in the oven for 30 minutes at 450 degrees, with the lid on. After this time, remove the lid and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
7) Remove the bread from the pot and let it fully cool ( theory...I cracked into mine right away!). Enjoy the best bread EVER. 
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