Mmmmm……carbs. I find it fitting that I pulled this bread out of the oven just before I started a 10-mile run, leaving it the perfect amount of time to cool and proceeded to devour it post-run with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
As the baker of the group, you may find it shocking to learn that I rarely bake bread. I think I have made a proper loaf of bread maybe a handful of times. This recipe, however, could convert me into a more frequent bread maker….and like it promised, I wanted to blog about it.
It has an amazing hard crust and soft insides. It’s a bit hard to cut without crushing it, given the width (bigger than my bread knife) and the hard crust…but meh, crushed bread is still tasty bread, amirite?
The only real annoyance I had with this recipe is the transfer of this super soft, hard to physically handle, dough to multiple places. It starts in a bowl, then it goes onto a cutting board or work surface with some flour and then onto a kitchen towel and then, finally into a piping hot, pre-heated dutch oven. I am still surprised I didn’t drop it on the floor or burn myself. And I think this would be even more of an issue for people who are not super confident in the kitchen.
All that being said, this bread is freaking fantastic. Make it now. Oh well, start it now, bake it tomorrow (it needs 12-18 hours for it’s first rise/fermentation process).
Recipe Rating: 4 knives and of 5
Food 52 Genius Recipes: No-Knead Bread
Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) round loaf (1 1/4 lbs/570g)
3 cups (400g) bread flour (Lisa’s Note: I used all-purpose and it turned out fine)
1 1/4 teaspoon (8g) table salt or fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon (1g) instant or other active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups (360g) cool (55 F to 65 F/ 13 C to 18 C) water
Wheat bran, cornmeal or additional flour for dusting (Lisa’s Note: I used a mix of flour and cornmeal)
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, salt and yeast. Add the water and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until you have a wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds. Cover the bowl with a plate, kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature (about 72 F/22 C), out of direct sunlight, until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough is doubled in size. This will take a minimum of 12 hours and up to 18 hours. The slow rise – fermentation – is the key to flavour.
When the first fermentation is complete, generously dust a work surface (a wooden of plastic cutting board is fine), with flour. When you begin to pull the dough away from the bowl, it will cling in long, thin strands (this is the developed gluten), and it will be quite loose and sticky–do not add more flour. Use lightly floured hands or a bowl scraper or spatula to lift the edges of the dough in toward the centre. Nudge and tuck the edges of the dough to make it round (Note from Lisa: this is a smidge hard because the dough is so lose so don’t get frustrated).
Place a cotton or linen kitchen towel or a large cloth napkin on your work surface and generously dust the cloth with wheat bran, cornmeal or flour. Use your hands or a bowl scraper or wooden spatula to gently lift the bowl onto the towel, so it is seam side down. If the dough is tacky, dust the top lightly with wheat bran, cornmeal or flour. Fold the ends of the towel loosely over the dough to cover it and place it in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1-2 hours. The dough is ready when it is almost doubled. If you gently poke it with your finger, making an indentation about 1/4 inch (6mm) deep, it should hold the impression, If it doesn’t, let it rise for another 15 minutes.
Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 475 F (245 C) with a rack in the lower third position, and place a covered 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 quart (4.5 to 5L) heavy pot in the centre of the rack.
Using pot holders, carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven and uncover it. Unfold the kitchen towel, lift up the dough–either on the towel or in you hand–and quickly but gently invert it into the pot so the dough lands seam side up. Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the lid and continue baking until the bread is a deep chestnut colour but not burnt, 15-30 minutes more. Use a heatproof spatula or pot holders to carefully lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool thoroughly. Don’t slice or tear into it until it has cooled, which usually takes at least an hour.
Om nom nom,