This bread is pretty amazing, it's a big payoff considering the small amount of effort that you put in and the results are impressive. It has a wonderful crispy crust and chewy texture. And it just takes time. It sits for about 18 hours doing it's magic. If you haven't heard of this no-knead bread recipe and you like homemade bread, or any bread for that matter, you will love this, the recipe has been around for a few years, it's adapted from Sullivan Street Bakery featured in New York Times by Mark Bittman. We've made it quite a few times and it always comes out right. I haven't been able to get my hands on instant yeast, so if you're using an all-purpose yeast add an an additional 1/8 teaspoon yeast, which comes out to about a 1/3 teaspoon total. Also I added more salt, 2 teaspoons rather than 1 1/4, it tastes a bit better that way.
They recommend flouring a kitchen towel for the 2 hour rise, but it is a sticky sticky dough, so I'm not sure what kind of towels they have but I've had no luck, so I flour parchment paper instead and place a towel over that. So just keep in mind on step 3 to use lots and lots of flour. It's a very wet dough.
I'd like to venture out and try some variations with this bread as some point, but here's the basic recipe. Enjoy!
(adapted from Mark Bittman)
- 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
- ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
- 1¼ teaspoons salt
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 with plastic wrap. 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 it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more 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 ready, heat oven to 450°F. 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 O.K. 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.