I don't do a lot of elaborate cooking especially after my failure with individual Beef Wellingtons last year. When I do cook these days it tends to center on an Artisan style loaf of white bread.
Yup, that's me at 1:00AM covering a slice of still warm from the oven bread with unsalted butter and honey.
It seems that I can never start my day with fresh baked bread because my lack of time management skills means that these little feasts take place at very odd hours.
I call this Lazy Bread because it takes almost no skill or ability to make an excellent loaf of bread.
Here's how I make my Lazy Bread:
Yield - one nice sized loaf
3 cups of bread flour
1 1/2 cups of warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons of active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt
Mix all the ingredients into a cohesive ball in a large bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and wait for a couple of hours for the lump to double in size. Once doubled, put the whole thing into the refrigerator for about 10 hours.
Take the bowl from the refrigerator and scrap the dough onto a floured surface. Sprinkle more flour over the top of the loaf push and pull the lump into a loaf shape by pulling the edges under the bottom of the loaf. Remove to a parchment covered cookie sheet.
Cover lightly with a slightly damp towel and let the whole thing come to room temperature. This can take over an hour so be patient.
Preheat the oven to 450o with a large shallow pan in the oven.
When the loaf has come to room temperature and the oven is ready, put the cookie sheet in the oven, quickly pour a cup of water into the preheated pan and quickly shut the oven door.
Bake for about 25 minutes, until it is a nice color.
Remove the loaf from the oven to a rack and let cool for at least 30 minutes.
Just before you can't stand it anymore, slice and enjoy.
I store it in the microwave covered in plastic wrap for 3 - 4 days... if possible!
You can make a lot of additions and substitutions like using some whole wheat flour, or adding nuts, herbs and raisins but I usually don't bother.
There are a zillion recipes available on-line that I used to develop my lazy bread like Five minute bread, Artisan Bread Baking website and, the often intimidating, the Best Bread Recipe website.