No need to knead…
Alright. Let’s start this thing with the easiest recipe…ever.
I realize that a lot of people, great cooks even, are extremely scared of bread. The yeast, the kneading, is it too wet/dry, etc. Freaked. Out.
Honestly, once you get the hang of bread baking, chances are you’ll never be happy with store bought bread again. Your house will smell fantastic, you’ll save a TON of money, and you will know exactly what’s going into the food you’re eating. Preservative free, baby!
No knead bread. Jim Lahey of the famed NYC Suliivan St Bakery developed this recipe a few years ago and literally changed home bread baking forever. Bakery quality bread at home. All the fantastic holes and crevices. Crusty crumb. IMAGINE!
This is seriously the easiest bread ever. All you need is time, patience, and a dutch oven. I’ve made several variations of this recipe (Olive, Cheddar & Green Onion, Cranberry Walnut etc) that I’ll probably post later on.
That’s it. Make this bread.
No Knead Loaf
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
4. 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 O.K. 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 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.
Care of Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery & the NY Times.