BREAD – So Easy To Make Even I Could Do It…
Yup, bread even I could make! I didn’t - but I could! Richard did, though.
This no-knead bread recipe was created by Jim Lahey, owner of the Sullivan Street Bakery in NYC’s SoHo district and I loved every “crusty on the outside, soft on the inside” morsel.
No story to tell… just that nothing smells better than bread baking in your own oven. And nothing tastes better then slicing open a warm loaf, ‘slathering’ on some butter and taking a bite.
No labor intensity… No expensive bread-making machines… Go for it!
No-knead bread. No need to wait.
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1-5/8 cups of water
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1-1/4 teaspoon salt.
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed
In large bowl combine flour, yeast, salt. Add 1-5/8 cups water and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl w/ plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours (preferably about 18 hours), at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
Dough is ready when surface is dotted w/ bubbles. Lightly flour work surface (Richard uses his large marble ‘cutting’ board or our marble counter-top); place dough on it. Sprinkle w/ a little more flour, and fold dough over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely w/ plastic wrap; let rest for about 15 minutes.
Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat cotton towel (not terry cloth) w/ flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough on towel, seam-side down. Dust w/ more four, bran or cornmeal. Cover w/ another cotton towel; let rise for about 2 hours. When ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked w/ 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 – Richard uses our Le Creuset ‘soup’ pot) in oven as it heats.
When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up (it may look like a mess, but that’s OK) Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover w/ lid, bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned.
Our oven cooks ‘fast’ so Richard baked it for only 15 minutes after removing the lid.
Cool on rack.
Yield: One 1-1/2 pound loaf
Time: about 1-1/2 hours, plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising time