We’ve been stuck at home for a few days from a bunch of snow and ice. I had dry yeast in the cupboard, bread flour, a sexy blue dutch oven pot and nothing but time, so the NYT no-knead bread recipe from a few years ago, seemed like a perfect little diversion. I made it twice and shared some of the loaf-love with my next-door neighbor. What I like about this recipe: you don’t need any real bread baking know-how or a bread machine. It is baked in a blazing hot oven, preheated with heavy-bottomed pot, and it produces a lovely rustic loaf. The work:outcome ratio is very favorable, as long as you have a lot of time on your hands to wait in between the simple steps. I’ve made this many times and my adjustments to the recipe are I never used the cornmeal, and I place a piece of parchment in the pot as a ‘sling’ for easy removal. Oh yes, and the longer the initial rest (12-19 hours), the more flavor your bread will develop.
1. mise en place- bread flour, measuring cup and spoons, instant yeast, salt spoon liquid measuring cup, water
2. Stir together: 3 cups bread flour, 1/4 tsp yeast, 1 and 5/8 Cup lukewarm water and 1 and 1/4 tsp salt with spoon in a large bowl, cover bowl tightly and leave overnight on the counter.
3. Let rest overnight in a covered bowl on the counter (12 hours or even longer). You will see bubbles have formed, letting you know your yeast is alive and well.
4. Sprinkle work surface and dough with flour, turn out and fold over on itself once or twice.
5. Cover dough lightly and let rest for 15 minutes.
6. Lightly flour hands to keep dough from sticking and form dough into ball quickly by rounding/tucking under “seams” beneath.
7. Cover again (I used parchment paper with a kitchen towel over it) and let rise for 2 hours, it will double in size. Meanwhile preheat oven and a large heavy-bottomed pot and lid to 450.
8. Place dough “seam” side up in pot for rustic look. (Oops, and didn’t do that here in this pic!) Don’t worry if it looks funny when you plop it in there. Bake with lid on for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, take lid off and return to oven for another 15 minutes to brown.
9. Remove from oven, let cool for at least an hour before slicing. It will probably make fun, crackling noises while it cools (This loaf was seam side up in the pot).