I suppose I should make a confession right up front. This recipe technically has five ingredients. However, most TV shows don’t count water, salt, or pepper against a recipe’s ingredient sum. So, I’m going to follow their lead and not count them either.
As we learned in this post, I have a love-hate relationship with yeast breads. But, a dear friend taught me how to treat yeast with love so it would thrive.
One of the things I like best about this bread, aside from its very short ingredient list, is that its not high-maintenance and doesn’t require a lot of kneading and rising cycles. It can be done in under an hour, which suits my little instant-gratification-loving heart just fine. This is a rustic loaf – not a bread loaf – and it’s perfect with tea and jam, and even extra delicious when toasted!
Here’s how you, too, can make delicious homemade three ingredient rustic bread in less than an hour.
Start with warm water. Yeast is kinda fussy about the water temperature it likes. If the water is cooler than 105° the yeast will stay dormant. If it’s much hotter than 115° you’ll scald the poor things to death. Add the honey and stir until it’s dissolved.
Now that there’s a warm home and some food to eat, add the yeast and stir until dissolved.
Let the yeast sit for five to ten minutes. A foam will form on the top of the water. This is exactly what you want. It means the yeast is happy!
In a large bowl add 3 1/2 cups flour and salt. Whisk to combine.
Pour the happy yeast and water into the bowl with the flour and stir until mostly combined.
Spread the remaining 1/2 cup of flour on the counter or work surface.
Turn out the dough onto the flour. Knead the dough, incorporating some of the board flour whenever needed, until it’s no longer sticky. Don’t feel pressured to work in all the flour – you probably won’t need it. And don’t knead it too long, this dough doesn’t need it. (See what I did there? Don’t you just love homonyms?)
Form the dough into the loaf shape of your choice. Do your own thing here – loaf beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Cover the loaf with a kitchen towel and let it sit for 15 minutes to rise. I love this dragonfly towel. I got it on a side trip to Bravo Farms. While the dough is resting/rising, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Transfer the loaf to the cooking surface of your choice. I’m using a pizza stone here because I like the crusty bottom it gives the bread. (By the way, if you’re using a pizza stone, don’t put a cold stone into a hot oven or it could crack. Put the stone in the oven while it’s cool, then pre-heat the oven with the stone inside. I love this pizza stone because it also comes with a metal carrying rack that makes it super-easy to take out of the oven.)
With a serrated knife, slice a decorative pattern on the top of the loaf. This gives the dough some room to rise as it cooks. And it also makes it look pretty. I just cut diagonal stripes on this loaf. But you can put cross-hatches, or straight lines, or play tic-tac-toe on yours. Go wild!
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the surface is golden brown and a little crispy. (Time for another confession… I usually make a small slice into the center of the bread in an inconspicuous area to see if the center really is done, or if it’s still a gooey mess.)
Try your best to let the loaf cool before slicing and eating. Good luck with that, because the smell is so heavenly you’ll need some serious will-power to wait. I couldn’t wait. I just had to have a slice with my favorite Earl Grey Lavender tea.
This rustic crusty bread is especially good with jam, or as toast. But I couldn’t be bothered to wait long enough to get the jam out of the fridge before digging in.
Here’s the complete recipe. Enjoy!
1 1/2 cups warm water – 105° F–115° F
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 packets active dry yeast
4 cups all-purpose flour – divided 3 1/2 & 1/2
1. Combine warm water and honey until honey dissolves.
2. Add yeast and stir until dissolved. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. A foam should form on top.
3. Place 3 1/2 cups flour into large bowl, and whisk in salt.
4. Pour yeast mixture into flour and stir until mostly combined.
5. Spread remaining 1/2 cup flour on counter and turn out dough.
6. Knead dough, incorporating loose flour, until no longer sticky. You may not need to incorporate all the flour.
7. Cover dough with a towel and let it rise for 15-20 minutes.
8. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
9. Transfer dough to cooking surface of your choice (see note below), and slice a decorative pattern on the top of the bread.
10. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
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