I have been wanting to take a stab at baking bread for a very long time now. I did the burger buns a few weeks ago. They really weren't so hard to make, which gave me a boost of confidence.
This recipe seems like a good next step. Maybe the easiest bread recipe out there?
My sister gave me this recipe last Christmas. Since then, I have seen it come up a lot. It seems like it was really popular when it came out in 2006.
The concept is a no-knead crusty loaf of bread. Instead of kneading, the dough spends lots of time rising to develop the gluten and flavor. Something like that. And it really works!
I had Scot throw together the ingredients (which is really most of the work). He got everything all set up, found a good spot to display the recipe, etc. It wasn't until after he did the first step that he realized his job only took about 10 minutes. And that is 5 minutes in non-Scot people time.
After mixing the 4 ingredients together, there is just a lot of waiting and a few times you do need to move the dough to a new location. Not bad.
It is baked in a dutch oven or other heavy pot with a lid. My dough was way too soft to shape so I just kind of threw it in there. I also went a little heavy on the corn meal because I didn't want it to stick. And turns out I probably didn't need it. But tasted really good. My loaf is also kind of wider than the pictures I have seen. Again, it was just so soft. Maybe because it like 400 degrees outside. And we don't have AC. Good thing I was baking, huh? Smart. But, it still tasted completely delicious and Scot thinks we should make it every night.
No-Knead Artisan Bread
originally by Mark Bittman, posted in New York Times
3 cups all purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
cornmeal as needed
In a large bowl combine flour, yeast, and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about two more hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is OK. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15-30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
(Servings: 1 loaf, Prep time: 10 min., Rise time: 14-20 hrs., Bake time: 45 min. – 1 hr., Difficulty: Easy)