Hearth Bread

Picture of Hearth Bread

This bread is an easy to make hearth bread with a hard crust and soft inside. It does take some time to make, but not a lot of effort. Because of the time it takes to make, the bread has a slight sour flavor, similar to a mild sour dough. It is wonderful with jam/jelly or with soup. It is also great on it's own.

Note: The photos in this instructable show the use of a mixer;however, I have made this bread for years by hand.
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Step 1: Igredients

5 cups of flour (unbleached all purpose works well)
2 cups of warm water (100-110 degrees F)
2 teaspoons yeast (instant or dry)
2 teaspoons salt

Step 2: Make a Starter

Picture of Make a Starter

In a mixing bowl, mix 1 cup warm water, 1 teaspoon yeast and 2 cups of flour. If you are using dry yeast, let the yeast bloom (soak) in the water for a few minutes before adding the flour. Cover the mixture, and let in sit overnight. (For a stronger sour dough-like flavor, let the starter sit for a couple of days).

Note: I have found that covering the starter with a cling wrap and then a tea towel helps keep the starter from drying out. You will have to scrape a little of the starter off of the wrap, but it makes further mixing easier.

Step 3: Mixing and Kneading

Picture of Mixing and Kneading
Add 1 cup warm water, 1 teaspoon yeast and 2 teaspoons salt to the starter. Mix well. Add remaining flour a cup at a time and mix in the flour. I have found it useful to hand mix (with clean, bare hands) to finish mixing, wither using a mixer or not.

Now knead the dough. If using a mixer, follow the machine's instructions for kneading. 2-5 minutes should do the job (I like going 4 to 5 minutes). If kneading by hand, knead the dough for 5-10 minutes.

Step 4: The First Rising

Picture of The First Rising
Form the dough into a ball, and cover (I reuse the cling wrap and the towel). Now let the dough rise for 3 hours.

Note: The dough will rise best if the room temperature is over 70 F.
dmassote1 year ago

Thanks for the recipe. I've been making this bread for some time. As an advice for people that don't have time to wait, that if you wait for an hour or more for each step, you will still be able to make it. But the flavor will be more blend.

obax174 years ago
Just wondering, since I've never made bread before, if it gets left to rise longer than the times you give, is it a problem? I want to try making this this weekend, but will be in and out throughout the day and don't know if I can meet those times exactly. Thanks!
fgibbs (author)  obax174 years ago
I have never had any problems due to letting the dough rise longer than the recommended time. In fact, in cooler temperatures, it may need extra time to rise.
obax17 fgibbs4 years ago
ok cool. It turned out a bit bland, but then, I did forget the salt, and it was the first time I ever made bread. I'll give it a couple more goes before I give up and go back to store bread :)
Yes, leaving out the salt will make the bread taste bland.

You might add some spices to your bread for a different flavor, like pizza spice, rosemary, chives, smoked cheddar cheese, bacon, jalapenos, fresh diced garlic, basil and dried tomato. Use you imagination. There is nothing better then fresh baked bread
DanYHKim3 years ago
Scoring the bread may help it rise more fully in the oven by relieving the tension of the bread's outer surface. Gas pockets within the dough will expand in the heat, and a scored loaf will have larger holes and maybe a softer texture.
fgibbs (author)  DanYHKim3 years ago
Yes, scoring does allow the bread to rise and expand while cooking. You can score the loaf in different designs but if you don't score it, the loaf will rip at the weakest point. It is not pretty!