By the way, I didn't burn the bread, I like mine a little darker than most people, funny I know.
Ingredients for Crusty Bread:
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt, yeast, white chocolate chips, and pecans. Add water and mix with a spoon until combined and a shaggy mixture forms, takes all of 30 seconds. Do not over mix. The dough will be a little sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12-18 hours. Overnight works great.
After 12-18 hours heat oven to 450 degrees, yes 450 degrees. When the oven has reached 450 degrees place a cast iron pot with lid or whatever you are using in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, place dough onto a heavily floured surface and gently fold over a few times to shape into a ball. Do not squeeze, do not knead. The dough will be very soft, be gentle. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit while the pot is heating. After 30 minutes remove hot pot from the oven and gently place in the dough. You do not need any oil or spray on the bottom of the pan. If that makes you nervous then use parchment paper, big enough to cover bottom and go up the sides a little. I have not used anything. Remember the dough is very soft. Be careful not to burn yourself. Cover and return to oven to bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove the lid (this is when you will get excited because this is bizarre, and you will see that it worked) and bake an additional 10-15 minutes to brown. Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool. When cool it can be stored in a gallon zip lock bag. The crust will soften in the ziplock.
Below is my second attempt and I made a plain loaf. Oh this is not good. It's so easy. Does this mean I will be making a loaf of bread every time I make soup?. . . well o.k. It's perfect for that. The mix-ins can be endless, cheddar cheese and green onion, orange and cranberry, roasted garlic, cinnamon raisin, and on and on.
I love rustic looking bread. The size of the loaf is between an 8 and 9 inch circle. Crusty on the outside, soft and moist with wonderful airy holes on the inside. You will love the added surprise when the bread is cooling. The crust sounds just like Rice Krispies Cereal, snap, crackle, pop. I love it.
Below is the pot I used. It's a Lodge brand enameled cast iron dutch oven.
Recipe adapted from Jim Lahey at Sullivan Street Bakery and Simply So Good blog.