Best Bread Ever!

I’ve been baking bread for a while now.  My usual recipe is the 5 minute a day bread, which works out wonderfully.  The only problem I’ve had is that after the bread cools, I lose the crispy crust that I long for.

Tony happened to be flipping channels yesterday and said he stopped in his tracks when he saw America’s Test Kitchens eating this crunchy bread.  The secret? Super hot oven, and it bakes in a dutch oven for 30 minutes with the lid on.  I imagine this steams the bread and the last 20 minutes gives it this amazing crust!

Almost No-Knead Bread (courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen)
  • 3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 3/4 cup (7 ounces) water, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (3 ounces) beer
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

Whisk flour, years, and salt in large bowl.  Add water, beer and vinegar.  Using a wooden spoon, fold the mixture incorporating all of the flour.  It will be a slightly sticky dough.  Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for at least 8 hours, or up to 18 hours.

Put parchment paper on counter.  Take the dough out of the bowl and knead 10 to 15 times with a bit of flour.  Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 2 more hours.

For the last 30 minutes of the rising, heat oven to 500 degrees – putting your dutch oven in the oven with the lid.  After 30 minutes, reduce heat to 425 and using the parchment paper, carry your dough to the dutch oven – the parchment paper will be on the sides of the pan, just put the cover on and bake for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove the lid and cook an additional 20 minutes.   Tony and I were kind of worried that seemed like a long time, but it was absolute perfection!

this is how it looked after rising about 15 hours or so

here's how it looks after kneading it about 10 times - resting on the parchment paper - I scored it with a knife before putting it in the oven

here's how it looked after 30 minutes - lid removed

This is so delicious!

look at the glorious crust!

I waited all of about 5 minutes before cutting it open - I put some butter on a piece and Tony and I tasted it at the same time

Best part? Tony said it was the best bread he’s ever had!  He said “this is like bakery bread!”  Love it! :D

Then we were off to grocery shop – I did great!

On the menu (remember breakfast and lunch is just me!):

Breakfasts:

  • cranberry oatmeal with smoked almonds
  • green eggs and ham frittata
  • spicy oats with bacon and cheese
  • egg sammie with fruit
  • breakfast pizza on a pita

Lunches:

  • Buffalo Chicken Soup
  • Chicken Tacos with black beans and asparagus guacamole
  • Baked Potato with Chili and cheese (becoming a favorite for me!)
  • Falafels with tzatziki sauce
  • Shrimp Stir Fry

Dinners:

  • Soup and Sandwiches
  • Greek Chicken with Rosemary Potatoes
  • Pot Roast with garlic mashed potatoes and green beans
  • Chicken enchiladas
  • Spinach lasagna (only half will have spinach Tony!)
  • Sirloin steak with Pomme Frites

We had thoughts of going to grab something to eat when Tony said “we still have those good hot dogs at home.”  Thus hot dogs with cheese fries was born!

these are all beef hot dogs from Oscar Meyer - 220 calories each but worth every calorie!

Then we fried Ore Ida crinkle cut fries.  We decided they looked naked by themselves:

see? they are so naked!

So I heated up the last of the queso I made.

still missing something though!

bacon makes everything better!

We ate lunch so late that neither of us were hungry for dinner.  Until about 9:00, I finally got hungry and made us a plate of nachos – I had a picture of it, but somehow my computer ate it!

Needless to say, 50% of my calories were from fat yesterday – but because of all the exercise I did, I am down 1.8 for the week! I don’t plan on weighing in again until April 1st.  My goal is to be 159 by then.

Off to jump in the shower and put my food together for the day.  Happy Monday! :D

Oh, and check out Shelley’s 1st 5k recap!  I knew she would do great!!

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53 thoughts on “Best Bread Ever!

  1. Ohmigosh that bread does look incredible amazing!!!

  2. That bread does look amazing!

    I love your menu plan for the week it looks so good :)

  3. Oh wow – gorgeous bread! Bakery quality for sure!! Congrats on still being down! Fingers crossed for this month, I know you can do it :)

  4. Homemade bread is such a treat. This one here looks wonderful.

  5. I will be trying this bread tomorrow. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  6. I’m excited for your buffalo chicken soup recipe! That bread does look amazing. I’m so intimidated by baking…

  7. I’ve been wanting to try that recipe but I’m still working my way thru the 5 min cook book. ;)

    Mmmmmm cheese fries…my hubs loooves them. lol

    Congrats on the loss & have a great week!
    Lynn

  8. Mmm… that bread looks fantastic! Bread is something that I’ve always wanted to try, but it seems so labour intensive. After looking at those photos I might have to give it a go!

  9. The bread looks beautiful. I have never made bread at home.. I guess because for some reason I think it is hard to make bread at home.

  10. That bread DOES look like bakery bread. Wow. I make my own bread too, but although it tastes great it never turns out LOOKING quite so good!

  11. That bread looks great. I’ve always been too nervous to bake my own bread. I have no idea why!

  12. Yummy bread – yay for weight loss – what a great start to your week!

  13. I’m glad your homemade bread turned out so well–a no knead bread was the first I ever made at home, and now four years later I make all of our bread (albeit with the help of a breadmaker). Good luck in March!

  14. Great job on the weight loss Biz!!

    I hope to be at your weight by April 1st!! Ha!

  15. WOW – your bread looks absolutely amazing! That is a goal of mine – to one day make bread from scratch and have it taste good AND look good.

    Congrats on the weight loss, too!!

  16. Your food looks amazing and I’m seriously in awe of your grocery bill.

    We went shopping yesterday and ours was 152 something. The comment you left me made me realize that since I don’t really know how to cook I have no idea how to meal plan and I’ve never done it (if pork was .05 I would still not buy it because I would have no idea what to do with it.) I seriously need help, I’m going to have to start shopping sales and then cooking according to what is on sale.

    I shop mostly at Kroger.

  17. So glad that the bread turned out GREAT – now you can add all sorts of herbs and things and make my mouth water even more, lol!

    Thanks for the shout out – that was one heck of a crazy run!

    Oh, and wtg on the 1.8…and I’m doing the same thing as you – weighing myself once (tomorrow, because I didn’t like the number I saw today) and then not again until April 1.

    • For excellent taste, this Cooks recipe is the only white bread I make. So far I have made over 40 loaves in the last two months, most going to my grandchildren. Fortunately, I bake two loaves at a time in clay bakers.

      Here are a few suggestions:
      -Being without preservatives the bread remains fresh for only a few days. Since the two of us do not eat much bread I freeze half the loaf.
      -Use unbleached APF. It is tastier and has much more food value than APF.
      -Lightly oil the mixing bowl for ease of removing the dough from the bowl.
      -Microwave the water,beer, and vinegar for about sixty seconds. It should be lukewrm
      -wet your fingers to reduce dough sticking to your fingers
      -generously sprinkle 12″ x 12″ square of flour
      -fold the dough in half. Pick it up and flip it over and over, on the same spot 10–12 times. Stay within the square.
      -cover a 9″ frying pan with a 12″ length of parchment paper.
      -pulling the edges for a smooth top, sprinkling the top of the dough and slash cutting are all for looks. Practise and watching the videos are a great help.
      -place dough in the fry pan. The paper act as handles to place the dough in the hot pot.
      -For a soft crust, wrap the bread in a tea towel and let it cool
      -Doughy fingers? Without soap or water scrub your hands as if washing them. Only a thin film of dough witll remain and is easily washed off.
      -Mix the dry ingredients with a measuring spoon. You are going to have to wash it afte dispensing the vinegar so this aids in cleanup.
      -a wet paper towel is best to clean up the floured board.
      -If you are going to shape the dough, let it sit for 15 minutes after you dump the dough to “almost” knead
      -If you need more liquid to pick up the last of the flour, add one tablespoon of liquid at a time. When you hear the dough while mixing you have the correct mix.
      -Save the plastic from the first rise for the second rise.

  18. That bread looks incredible!! It definitely looks like something you’d find at a fancy bakery. You are so talented!!

  19. I love that recipe. I made it a few months ago. I think I need to make it again! Your pictures made me crave it. :)

  20. Wow that bread does look amazing! Perfectly crusty!

  21. i am so trying that bread soon. and those fries…must have!!

  22. Oooh that looks so crusty and good!

  23. DiningAndDishing

    i loooove fresh bread – cannot be beat! so impressed with that loaf…looks like it came out perfect!

    - Beth @ http://www.DiningAndDishing.com

  24. Very neat. You know I love my bread and this looks awesome. I need a darn dutch oven and I think I will now need to go buy one. Ok, no this very minute, but soon.

  25. I had a hot dog today too – yums!

    That bread looks so amazing – completely professional!

    Great meal plan this week – yum!!

  26. Biz that is seriously one of the most beautiful loaves of bread I’ve ever seen!! I remember checking that recipe out from Cooks Illustrated a while ago and wanting to try it- I’m so glad to hear that it turns out so well! For some reason, I’m really nervous to get into bread baking. I feel intimidated by it I guess!

    Oh, and about your comment the other day about “A Serious Man…” Well, I agree that when I saw the movie at first I was disappointed and felt like – what was the point of that? But then days afterwards, I found myself still thinking about it and all the possible meanings I could draw from it. I feel like that’s the beauty of it. The way it just tells you a story that allows you to interpret it in so many ways. The Coen Bros were interviewed and refused to tell anything about their intent or the meaning of the movie. So I imagine they want the audience to mull it over and decide for themselves. Frustrating, but kind of cool. Sorry for such a long response!

  27. WHoa holy cow that bread looks AMAZING! I’ve seen that recipe and wanted to make it so badly…but I don’t have a dutch oven! I wonder if I can use the pot from my slow-cooker and seal it with aluminum foil? hmm…

    • Does your crock pot lid have a hole in it? I have one that lets the steam out as it cooks, so not sure that would work – but if you get a pot that can stand the heat and is a tight seal, that might work. :D

  28. that bread is GORGEOUS.

  29. Ohh that looks good. I love bread. I still need to make and share the one thing i bake…Italian cheese bread. It’s good, and very moist, but there’s an alternative cheese to make it less moist per what you like. I’m also coming back when i make my menu and snitching a few ideas to mix things up. You even make hot dogs healthy. I love hot dogs.

    Hey, thanks for being there for me this week. It really meant the world to me. Thank you.

  30. You have beautiful food pictures! That crust does look good. I’m going to be baking some bread soon.

  31. Catching up over here — what a wonderful loss! Wooo!

    And that bread looks better than anything Panera puts out! YUM!! I may have to try that, it just looks too good NOT to!

  32. [...] Comments Nicole on Best Bread Ever!Nicole on Buffalo Chicken Soup and Best Chicken!sophia on Buffalo Chicken Soup and [...]

  33. Wow, I MUST make this bread! It looks amazing! Just the way I like it, crusty and soft inside. Droooooooooooooool!!
    :)
    Jenn

  34. Beautiful bread :-). It’s great that you have these step by step pictures, very inspiring for people who has never tried it before. I would have never started baking bread without seeing how easy each step is.
    I love these “in 5 minutes a day” breads. There are just so many variations you can try – you never get bored and they are all delicious :-).
    Check out some of my experiments (almost all no knead) http://cookingrookie.blogspot.com/search/label/Bread

  35. [...] I had a lot of dough leftover, and decided to use the same cooking method as the Best Bread Ever. I scored the [...]

  36. [...] left it on the counter overnight, just covered in plastic wrap.  I used the same technique – cooking in the cast iron dutch oven! I cut the top with a bread knife – worked [...]

  37. yummy… so delicious.. want to taste it.. thanks for sharing..

  38. [...] I was wrong! Type one was a slow-rise, almost sourdough loaf made with the recipe I found on Biz’s blog. I let it rise nearly 12 hours! The other…well, I have to go back and figure out what exactly [...]

  39. Oh my that bread looks like heaven! I want it times like 10 loaves! haha! And congrats on being down 1.8! You are AWESOME!!!!

  40. [...] temperatures drop, I definitely get in the mood to bake.  While I should have just stuck with the Best Bread Ever, I decided to try a different [...]

  41. [...] when its icky outside, I want to bake.  It’s been tough these past two weeks not to make my artisan bread in 5 minutes, or my chili stuffed baked potatoes.   Since I stocked up on canned pumpkin at Aldi the last time [...]

  42. Hey your bread looks awesome and I’ve been wanting to bake a good loaf of bread. Problem is I don’t have a dutch oven can i replace it with a baking dish sealed with aluminium foil? =)

    • The great thing about a dutch oven is it has thick sides and holds the temperature well – a regular pot with a lid, even with foil, might not work.

      My suggestion is this: bake on a baking stone and put 1 cup of boiling water in a broiler pan just below the rack with the bread. Do this quick to catch the steam in the oven. Check the bread at 30 minutes – it will cook faster this way. Hope that helps – let me know how it works out! :D

  43. M.J. Jacobsen

    That is prize winning bread!!! I’m going to make it this weekend!
    Happy things are getting back to normal for you and Tony, :)

  44. I tried this bread and it tastes just great :) This bread is just like what we call in our country Malta. Maltese bread!

  45. Has anyone made this bread adding seeds or oats or perhaps going multi-grain? I would love to try that.

  46. looks sooooooo yummy

  47. […] So I had a lot of dough leftover, and decided to use the same cooking method as the Best Bread Ever. […]

  48. […] after it cooled a bit and then reheated it when I got to work.  On the side was 2 ounces of the best bread ever with 1 tsp. no sugar added peanut butter and a sliced honeycrisp on the side.  Breakfast comes in […]

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