WOW. I've found what may be the most perfect bread recipe. It's just as easy as the No-Knead Bread recipe featured in the New York Times a few years ago, that was all the rage. I never understood why, other than the fact that it was really pretty easy. I made it twice and decided I hated the overwhelmingly yeasty taste. Plus, the bread tasted horrible the next day.
I don't know why I don't make bread more often -- it's probably because it requires a lot of advance scheduling. The actual effort involved is pretty minimal, but timing the rising sessions requires you to keep your schedule pretty flexible, which is a luxury I don't really have.
Anyway, I was browsing the website for King Arthur Flour,which makes exceptional flours. I try, whenever possible, to only use their flours. They have terrific recipes on their website, too (one of their recipes makes the most insanely delicious brownies - it's my go-to recipe). I came across one for French-style country bread, which I had to try - namely because it looked easy and required very few ingredients and no special equipment.
It was incredible! Here's the end result. Just look at that gorgeous crust!
And the real test - how it appears inside:
Perfection! I thought it was too good to be true, so I sliced through the thickest part of the bread, expecting an undercooked mess. But much to my surprise, the middle was just as perfectly cooked as the rest of the loaf.
This loaf is soft and chewy on the inside, and crusty on the outside - without a trace of that yeasty taste I dislike so much. Honestly, it tastes so much like the loaf of bread I pay at least $4.00+ at Whole Foods (for a much smaller loaf). It was a time-consuming process, but the effort was so minimal - it's really just about waiting for the bread to rise in stages, though you can go do work, laundry, or whatever else in between the rising sessions.
Outrageously good - 5+ stars!