It might be a mild exaggeration to say that no-knead bread changed my life, but it definitely changed the way I look at baking. Until I became a mom and decided to really dive into being domestic, I never put any thought into baking bread or really baking anything at all. But ever since I made that first flawless loaf of perfect, crusty no-knead, I really feel awakened to the idea of making my own bread. I can't help it! It's SO EASY, you literally cannot screw it up.
We're heading out tomorrow to the Oregon coast to go camping for a couple of days, and I'm so excited! I decided to bake us a loaf of fresh, healthy bread, so we'll have something hearty to snack on. The recipe is completely straightforward and totally easy.
All I did was prep bread dough according to the famous no-knead recipe posted in the NY Times, but I added a few handfuls of different types of seeds- black sesame, poppy, sunflower, and flax.
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting (I used 2 cups all-purpose flour, and 1 cup of whole wheat flour.)
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.
1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water ( Dude, wtf- just say 1.5 cups or something. This hurt my brain so bad the first time I read it. I was like "5/8 of a cup? HOW MUCH IS THAT?" have I ever mentioned I am a high school dropout? And that numbers make my brain lock up like a bike wheel with stick in the spokes? Yeah. ), 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 degrees. 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.
Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.
And that's it. My favorite baking recipe of all time, because it requires so very little effort to get such very good results. My bread is soft, chewy, and crispy on the outside, and full of crunchy, delicious seeds. I can't wait to take it camping with me.
Speaking of camping, we hit the farmer's market this morning in preparation and we picked up a pint of padrons, some delicious sweet corn, and a handful of beautiful heirloom tomatoes. I'm excited about the meals we have planned, and I'm going to blog about them all when I get back! Woo hoo!