Someone posted this bread recipe in my Twitter feed a while back, and fortunately I bookmarked it. Because it turned out to be the best bread recipe ever. Just look at the photo if you need proof. Isn't that gorgeous? My daughter took the photo; I'd made the bread to celebrate her homecoming in December. Since then, I've made a couple more batches of the bread. Each batch makes 3 small loaves of bread, just enough for 3 or 4 people.
Here's the link to the bread recipe. I haven't changed it, but I will warn you, it's long and complicated. Except it really isn't. All the detailed instructions are really not necessary. All you need is 4 ingredients: flour, salt yeast, and warm water. (The recipe calls for instant yeast; I didn't have it, and used plain yeast instead.) You don't need to knead the dough; just mix it until it comes together. Then you set the bowl aside, for a few hours or a few days. You should place the bowl in a fridge, but we have a cold room (our living room) that is unheated. It stays cold enough to store the bowl in, especially during our cold snap. You can store the dough for up to 7 days. Like sourdough, it gets better with age.
A couple of tips: Yes, it really needs 1 tablespoon of salt, not 1 teaspoon. The first batch I made wasn't salty enough, as I'd misread the recipe. Second, this bread doesn't rise much after you form it into a loaf. In fact it just kind of spreads a little bit. But don't worry; it's still good. It reminds me of Italian ciabatta bread.
Don't forget to make a cut or two in the top before baking (use a serrated bread knife, and cut about a half inch into the top), and remember to put a pan of hot water in the oven while the bread is baking. It really does make a difference, and of course you should have your oven as hot as possible. So, after I put the pan with the hot water in, I wait until the temperature has risen again to place the loaf inside.
The good part is, once you make the bread a time or two, you'll remember how to make it again, and again. It's really that simple. And it's nice having bread dough on hand, ready to bake after an hour of rising.
And it's so pretty too!
Here's another shot, from the top: