I’ve always thought of baking bread as statement of optimism about the next day – that the sun will rise for me to enjoy the fruits of my labor. This is possibly the easiest bread you will ever make. I can’t take credit for the recipe, or really, for discovering it on my own. I first had it for a Foodlums event a few weeks back. In the weeks since then, I’ve made it many more times with no signs of a slowdown.
Most everything in this recipe, from the type of flour, amount of water and rising time is open to a lot of interpretation. I encourage you to become familiar with more than just the recipe in the NY Times article. I like using 1/2 whole wheat flour 1/2 white flour. I tried it with rye one time with not so fantastic rising results. I haven’t had a chance to try it yet, but I think it would be great to add some cheese, olives or maybe some sundried tomatoes to the dough after the first long rise.
No Knead Bread
Time: About 1 1/2 hours plus 14-20 hours rising time
3 cups all purpose or bread flour
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 1/4 tsp 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 and 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 with a little more flou and fold it over on itself once o twice. Cover loosely and let rest about 15 minutes.
3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surgace or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (generously…don’t skimp) with 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 eady, 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 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
Yield: One 1 1/2-pound loaf.
This bread is really even easier to make than these directions make it seem. Watch this quick video for an easy explanation.