Thursday, August 30, 2012

Country Loaf Bread

Okay, this not making what I said I was going to make is getting embarrassing.  We’re going through a really busy spell in our house right now gearing up for the school year (my husband is a teacher).   So when I finally got around to making my dressing I realized I had no oil! But fortunately I made some incredible bread this week.  My friend Matthew brought over a loaf of amazing bread that he made, and said it was really simple.  He sent me the link, and I had everything on hand, so I went for it.  I will say that it came from a website that is all about bread, and I highly encourage you to go to the site, they have lots of hints and videos and whatnot.

You will need

3 cups warm water (free)

1 Tbsp granulated yeast ($1.95 per 6 ¾ teaspoons, $1.95/6.75tsp = $.29 x 3 tsp = $.87)

1 Tbsp kosher salt ($2.99 per 48oz, $2.99/94.42 Tbsp = $.03)

6 ½ cups (2lb) organic flour, plus a little more for dusting ($5.04 per 5lb, $5.04/5lb = $1.01 x 2lb = $2.02)

First off, this requires a special piece of equipment: a baking stone.  I don’t actually have one, but I do have a cast iron crepe pan my sister brought me from France, and that worked very well.

Day 1: Combine the first three ingredients in a 5 to 6 quart container that has a lid.  I used a large mixing bowl.  Dump in all the flour and mix it till combined.  Put the lid on, but don’t make it airtight.  Let it sit for 2 hours at room temperature.  Put the whole thing in the fridge for at least a day. 
The rough dough, ready to rise.
Risen dough.

Day 2: Sprinkle a little flour over the dough, a little on a piece of parchment paper, and dust your hands with flour.  Pull out a 1 lb chunk of dough (roughly 1/3 of the dough) and make a ball by pulling the dough from the top of the ball to the bottom (the site has videos on this!).  Allow this ball to sit at room temperature for 40 to 90 minutes on the parchment paper.  Cut a few slashes in the dough. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees with the baking stone or cast iron plate on the middle rack, and a metal broiling pan on the bottom rack.  When the oven is hot, put the dough, still on the parchment, on the stone, and pour 1 cup of hot water into the broiling pan.  Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the parchment from the bread and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until it is deep golden brown.  Cool the bread on a cooling rack till it is room temperature, and enjoy!
This is my 1lb ball.
Rested, slashed, and ready for the oven!
Finished bread.  It didn't last long in our house!

This bread is fantastic!  The longer you wait on all of the times, the better- the flavor and texture develop beautifully.  

Try It

It makes three loaves.  $2.92 for 47.35oz total, or $.06/oz

Buy It

This bread is comparable to the Country White Sourdough from La Brea, which is $2.39 for an 8oz loaf, or 


This bread is not only crazy cheap to make, but it’s the easiest bread I’ve ever made!  It’s also so good you could bring it to a party and people would actually love it.  It has a great crust, chewy crumb, and people might think that you have mad bread skills.  Absolutely Try It!


  1. Do you think it ships well? If so, send me some! Otherwise, I'll try it myself. It looks WONDERFUL.

    1. Rosemary, it's so easy I don't need to ship it. Use one of your wedding gift certificates and buy a pizza stone!

  2. Question: What would the difference if I used regular salt and a baking sheet? Less flavor and a worse crust? and a "broiling pan"... that's just a regular baking pan with water in it?
    Also, could you substitute wheat flour, or would that be too dry?

    1. I don't really know about the salt, except that it's more dense, so if you want to try it, use a little less than a tablespoon. As for the pan in place of a stone, yes, the crust would not be as good, but it still might be worth a shot. For the water, as long as it's metal, it's fine. Were it glass or ceramic it could break. As for the flour, it would be great with whole wheat, but start with a 50/50 mix and see how that tastes before adding more. Did that cover everything Margaret? Tell me how it turns out!

    2. ok, it's 3 cheap ingredients that I have in the kitchen already, so what could it hurt? I'll let you know how it goes!

  3. Laura, I have the book from where that website was derived. I've been baking my bread this way since I got the book for Christmas, and it has turned around my bread making. The book has all kinds of variations on this basic recipe (a few I've tried, many I have not). I'd be happy to loan it to you if you want to take a look. Also, regarding your sister's question: the book talks about different types of flours and how they affect the bread and also has recipes for a whole wheat version.

    1. I'd love to take a peek! I also saw one of their videos on making pizza, which looked really easy. My husband doesn't eat pizza, but Spencer and I would sure love it.