Crusty delicious bread, warm out of your oven, sitting in your home on a cooling rack, ready for you to eat…
Does this sound like something you want? If the answer is yes, then this is a recipe for you. I’ve always wanted to bake my own bread, but I always assumed (wrongly) that it was hard and would take a long long time. A little less than a year ago I saw a video with Mark Bittman and Jim Lahey (yea, I know its older, im just behind) where Lahey gives out his basic no-knead bread recipe. Good for me and you. Its simple and really all you need besides flour, water, yeast and a pot is time.
Bread is so good, why should not be able to make it at home very easily. Here is the recipe from the King Arthur Flour guys, as I found their method a little easier, since you don’t need a cast iron pot. While I do have a new Le Creuset pot, the knob only can go to temperature of 350, when you need to cook this bread even hotter. I am waiting on getting a medal knob, then I’ll try the other recipe.
Long story short, here is the recipe for the best bread ever. Don’t worry that there are so many steps, many are just short explanations and it will not be hard to follow!
Makes 3 small loaves –
3 cups lukewarm water
32 ounces of flour (between 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 cups)*
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast (if using active dry packets, use 3)
*In order to determine how much flour you need, you have to decide, are you the pour the floor into the measuring cup or dip to scoop into the flour bag type of person. If you are the pourer, you will need more, since less gets into each scoop, so go with 7 1/2. If you scoop and sweep, then you do less at 6 1/2. Don’t worry if its a little off.
Mix and stir everything together in a mixer at medium for a minute, or by hand with a spoon or dough wisk. Should take about 2 minutes by hand until you have a nice sticky dough ball. The flour should all be incorporated.
Now you need to let it rise for a few hours. First ensure your dough is in a large food safe container that is 6+ quarts in size. I used a large mixing bowl. Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and then let it sit at room temperature for about 2 hours. Once the 2 hours are up, transfer to the fridge for at least another 2 hours or up to a week.
When you are ready to bake, spread a little flour onto the top of the dough and then sprinkle olive oil on your hands. It makes it easier to grip the dough.
You want to grab about 1/3 of the dough, about a softball size and place it on a floured work area. Form into a ball or log and place onto parchmant paper. Sprinkle more flour over top to avoid drying.
You want to let the dough sit for one hour. While you are waiting, preheat your oven to 450.
If you are going to cook the bread on a pizza stone, you can place that in the oven at this time while it preheats. If not, you can use a parchmant paper lined baking sheet.
You want to place one oven rack to the bottom and one to the middle. When you place the bread into the oven (top shelf), also place a container of about 1-2 cups of water. This will act as the steam to make your bread crisp.
After an hour, return to the bread and make 2-3 slices, 1/2 inch deep, with a serated knife on top of the bread: