Baked crisp and golden in a Dutch oven, this easy white bread loaf requires simple ingredients and preparation.
- 4 cups bread flour
- 1 ½ cups water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- Pour bread flour into the bowl of an electric stand mixer and add water, followed by salt. Sprinkle yeast over the surface and allow to dissolve, about 5 minutes.
- Mix on medium speed using the paddle attachment until the dough comes together. Replace the paddle with a dough hook. Continue mixing until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to the dough to rise to about twice its size, 30 to 45 minutes. Push a finger into the dough. The dough should give some resistance, but not spring back. If it springs back, let it rise longer.
- Turn dough out onto a floured surface and punch down to expel excess gas and redistribute the yeast. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Shape the dough into a boule by pushing back and forth on the counter in a circular motion until you have a round, smooth ball. Cover dough with a clean dish towel and allow to rise, about 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Grease a Dutch oven.
- Slice a very shallow "X" into the top of the bread with a sharp knife to help it expand while baking. Place loaf into the prepared Dutch oven and cover with the lid.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and continue to bake, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and continue baking until deep golden, 25 to 30 minutes.