Monday, August 6, 2007
Ignore my well-used cutting board and take a look at this delicious, crusty bread! It's super easy - no kneading! The first time I made this recipe, I used an 8-qt dutch oven and it didn't rise as much. This time I used the 6-qt and it was perfect (thanks for lending me your dutch oven, Robyn). The original recipe can be found here, but I'll type it up below with the (very few) changes that I made.
I must add that my original thought on this recipe is that it would work great if I had minimal ingredients, and no electricity. In any situation, I'd be able to provide a life-sustaining meal for my family. We're supposed to be prepared for anything right? Because it uses a dutch oven, this recipe could be made using coals, but I haven't yet tried it.
(click here for original recipe)
adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
3 cups all-purpose flour, more for dusting
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
Cornmeal, wheat bran, or flour for dusting - as needed
1. In a large bowl, add flour and yeast. Whisk to combine. Then add salt. (If you add salt and yeast at the same time, the salt will kill the yeast). Add 1 5/8 cups water and stir until blended. Dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside. Let dough rest at least 12 hours at room temperature, about 70 degrees. (I let it rest 18 hours - mix it up in the evening and it's ready for tomorrow afternoon)
2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface (a.k.a. your counter) and place dough on it. Sprinkle with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. If you use a quick, light touch, it won't stick too bad to your fingers. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let dough rest about 15 minutes. (Instead of plastic wrap, I just cover the dough with the bowl it just came out of.)
3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface and your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into ball. Cover a large, clean bowl with a cotton towel (not terry cloth). Sprinkle flour, cornmeal or wheat bran on towel (I use a bit of wheat bran, and mostly flour). Set ball of dough on top of towel so it sinks down into the bowl. Dust dough with more flour, bran and/or cornmeal. Cover with another towel or plastic wrap and let rise 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, place a 6-qt heavy, covered pot (cast iron/dutch oven, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven and heat oven to 450 degrees. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot. It might look like a mess, but it will turn out fine! Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 25-30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15-30 minutes until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
(My favorite part is hearing the crust crackle and pop as it cools!)