It has to be about the simplest loaf recipe ever. Chuck everything in a bowl, give it a quick knead (10 seconds), leave overnight, shape, rise and bake. Job done. Lovely and crusty rustic loaf with minimal effort.
I duly made the dough last night. It only requires a 1/4 tsp of fast action yeast for the rise as you leave it out overnight. This morning it had doubled in size nicely. I shaped it as instructed. Did the rising part. Popped it in the oven. It all seemed to be going too well. Within two minutes, I could smell freshly baking bread. I thought that was a bit odd given that it had literally only been two minutes. But never thought to go and investigate. As a rather seasoned - if not good - baker, I know that you don't check things until they're at least halfway through their baking time otherwise you can expect disaster.
Slightly panicked, I removed it from the oven, setting off the smoke detectors whilst I did it (and rousing a less than amused husband from his slumber at 9am). Because we live in a modern townhouse, the smoke detectors are linked so if one goes, all three (one on each floor) go in unison. Of course, that set Miss A crying and the dogs howling. I'm now about another fifty places down the husband's scale of things he likes (my last ranking was #483).
The loaf was left to cool while Miss A and I escaped for our regular swim, and babyccino with Sainsbury's Cheese Scone (see Sconegate). I assumed that when I returned, I'd end up chucking it away. But actually, it's turned out to be a really nice loaf with a beautiful crumb and the slightly charred crust only lends to the rustic flavour. I think I was saved by the tray of boiling water used to help create a steamy atmosphere in the oven.
Will definitely be making again as it's so very easy (if you remember to set your oven correctly) and I want to have a go at making the garlic soup one day - when I won't be in polite company. I the bread it for lunch with the 'soup' I made from last night's leftover sauce and the hubby and Miss A had ploughmans. I'm now planning to have it for tea too, alongside some more of the lovely Three Tomato Salad that I made on Friday. All I need now is some early evening sunshine and a bottle of Chablis and I could pretend I was somewhere a little more exotic than North Wiltshire.
Recipe can be found here.