Hearth Bread

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Hearth Bread

star rating (111) rate this recipe »
Published prior to 2008

This recipe, also known as "The Easiest Loaf of Bread You'll Ever Bake," appears on the back of some of the King Arthur Flour bags.

1 tablespoon (1 packet) active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups warm water (not over 110°F)
5 1/2 to 6 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
boiling water

To mix: Mix together the first four ingredients. Let this stand until the yeast, sugar and salt are dissolved. Gradually add the flour to the liquid and mix thoroughly until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface to knead. (This may be a little messy, but don't give up!)

Knead It: Fold the far edge of the dough back over on itself towards you. Press into the dough with the heels of your hands and push away. After each push, rotate the dough 90°. Repeat this process in a rhythmic, rocking motion for 5 minutes, sprinkling only enough flour on your kneading surface to prevent sticking. Let the dough rest while you scrape out and grease the mixing bowl. Knead the dough again for 2 to 3 minutes.

Let It Rise: Return the dough to the bowl and turn it over once to grease the top. Cover with a damp towel and keep warm until the dough doubles in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours.

Shape it: Punch down the dough with your fist and briefly knead out any air bubbles. Cut the dough in half and shape into two Italian- or French-style loaves. Place the loaves on a cookie sheet generously sprinkled with cornmeal. Let the loaves rest for 5 minutes.

Bake it: Lightly slash the tops of the loaves 3 or more times diagonally and brush them with cold water. Place on rack in a cold oven with a roasting pan full of boiling water on the oven bottom. Bake at 400°F for 35 to 45 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and sounds hollow to the touch.

For a lighter, crustier bread, let your shaped loaves rise for 45 minutes. Preheat the oven and roasting pan with water to 500°F for 15 minutes. Brush the loaves with cold water, place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 400°F and bake for 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool and devour!

For a heartier, more nutritious bread, substitute 2 cups of King Arthur Traditional Whole Wheat Flour for 2 cups of King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour.


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  • star rating 04/30/2015
  • Laura from Tennessee
  • I've made this bread many times with great success. I'm wondering whether this recipe would adapt well to being cooked in a baguette pan?
  • star rating 04/28/2015
  • bncannon007 from KAF Community
  • Love it, easy, and delicious, I made a loaf and out of oven just 20 minutes ago!
  • star rating 04/26/2015
  • Caren from Brooklyn, New York
  • star rating 03/24/2015
  • westernabuelita from KAF Community
  • Made it for the first time today. It certainly is easy, looks good, and has a good taste. I opted to make only half of the recipe, since I live alone and do not eat much bread; the recipe was easy to adjust for only one loaf. The only problem for me is the amount of salt; I am on a salt free diet. I am reluctant to experiment with the quantity of salt, since I know that there is a relationship between the yeast and salt. It would be nice to have some advice on how to reduce the salt without ruining the quality of this bread.
  • star rating 03/19/2015
  • Caitlin from North Dakota
  • As a novice baker, I have used this recipe numerous times -- with both rising options and the whole wheat flour substitution -- every time turning out two perfect loaves. I use a KitchenAid with a dough hook attachment for kneading and follow all other directions and measurements to a T. After several recreations, I have found this recipe to be absolutely easy and essentially infallible.
  • star rating 03/13/2015
  • Elizabeth from TX
  • Starting making this bread years ago - you can use it for anything from calzone to pizza and on. Super simple, always delicious. I use a tablespoon of olive oil in it as well mixing the olive oil into the yeast mixture with the first cup of flour.
  • star rating 03/05/2015
  • Jill from Canyon Lake, Tx
  • This recipe is foolproof if you follow it exactly. It makes a delicious product that saves well. I bake two loaves and freeze one to use next week. My husband and I eat a loaf a week so I get to make it every two weeks. Perfect! Thank you KAF!
  • 02/21/2015
  • Maso from Catawba, NC
  • Well... I made this recipe last week for my first time and I am not a very experienced baker... yet. But I took some liberties with it. I made a "Biga" starter that had a cup of flour of it's own so I ended up with about seven cups of flour for a very big loaf. Next time I will break it down into two smaller loaves. I also coated it down with egg white and a tablespoon of water for a finish and generously sprinkled sesame seeds over that. But I have a problem with my gas oven ( propane ) It will only heat up to about 400 degrees F. I'm eating this bread, it's okay.
  • star rating 02/18/2015
  • Sharon from Scottish Borders, Scotland UK
  • So very simple with perfect results. Crusty and chewy, fantastic texture. If any is left, would be great toasted or grilled. This is my new go to taste of home bread. Next time will reduce salt, just a tad too much for me but still delish. I made with the steam.
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