This bread is so easy to make that I promise even if you have never baked a day in your life, you CAN make this bread. All you need is a few ingredients and to follow these simple steps.
This is a lean, artisan bread dough, meaning it is meant to have a chewy texture and a crunchy exterior. This bread is great for dipping in olive oil or with butter, or take it up a notch with my olive oil herb blend.
This dough is incredibly forgiving, delicious, simple, and lets you make a variety of bread styles with it. Depending on the amount of dough that you use, this recipe will make about 5 baguettes or two boule loaves. The best part? The dough can last in the fridge for up to a week so it is perfect for busy week night meals and planning ahead.
REfrigerating the bread dough
After the dough has risen on your counter and doubled in size, you can either bake with the dough right away or store it in your refrigerator for up to a week. To keep the dough as fresh as possible, I recommend storing it in a container with a lid. When you are ready to bake with the dough, simply pull out the amount of dough that you front from the refrigerator, shape it, and then let it rise while your oven preheats, about 30 minutes. You do not have to use all of the dough at once, you can bake with the dough multiple times throughout the week.
Creating a Crispy Exterior
No one wants soggy bread, so to prevent that we are going to add an oven safe pan of cold water to our oven. While our oven preheats and when the bread is baking, place a pan of cold water on the bottom oven rack (you can use any oven safe dish, I use a bread loaf pan). The cold water will create the ideal environment for our bread dough so that we can get that light, crunchy exterior.
What pan should you use?
I personally bake my baguettes on this pan and my boule loaf in a dutch oven. However, I have also had great success baking them both on a pizza stone or on a regular baking sheet when I was in a pinch.
World’s Easiest Bread Recipe
- 3 Cups Lukewarm Water (it should be slightly warm when you put your finger in)
- 1 tbsp Active Dry or Instant Yeast
- 1 tbsp Salt
- 6 Cups All-purpose Flour (720 grams)
Making the dough
- In a large bowl, start by adding in your lukewarm water. Add the Tbsp of yeast and salt to the water. Give it a few stirs.
- Add your flour to the water mixture all at one. Then stir until the flour is incorporated into the water completely. (The dough should be sticky. If it is too dry, add a few tbsp of water)
- Cover with a damp towel and let rise on your counter for about 2 hours or until doubled in size.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, you have a few options. You can bake with you the dough right away or you can put it in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week. During the week, you can bake with it at any time.
Baking with the dough
- If you dough is in the refrigerator, take it out at this point. Preheat your oven to 450°F. Fill an oven safe pan half way with cold water. Place this on the bottom of the oven to create a humid environment (I use a loaf pan for this). Leave the pan filled with water in your oven while it preheats and while the bread bakes.
- Now that you are ready to bake with your dough, the first step is shaping. You can shape the dough into any shape you would like (boule (a ball), baguette, etc.) Cut off a piece of the dough based on the size you would like. (for a boule loaf, use about 1 lbs of dough, for a baguette, use about ¼-½ lbs of dough) You'll want to use flour on your hands and on the counter to keep the dough from sticking.
- Holding the dough in both hands, you want to shape the loaf by stretching out the top of the ball and then pull the bottom together. The top and sides should be smooth and cohesive. The bottom will seem a little messy, but that’s okay. Or roll the dough out into a baguette if you so chose. Place the shaped dough onto a piece of parchment paper.
- Allow the shaped dough to rise on the counter while the oven preheats for about 30 minutes. Using a bread-knife, make slashes about a half-inch into the top of the dough.
- Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. If you are baking baguettes, bake for 25-30 minutes.
- Serve warm with olive oil or butter.