Bread

I came across this amazing bread recipe that I just have to share. Share with the zeal of a convert, casting away my old ways, and considering how this can be applied to other types of bread. It’s from the New York Times, and if you make bread, it will change your life. If you have never made bread, this is absolutely the best way to start, because you will have a fabulous loaf with almost no effort.

 Cut loaf of bread

Just look at that succulent crumb, the artful holes, the crisp crust.  You would think it took hours to make, and you are right, but the actual work was about 10 minutes, tops.   The hours and hours were the rise time.  First rise, 20 hours. Second rise, 2 hours.  It could have been longer, but dinner had to be on the table early, so it had to get into the oven by 4pm.  Click over to the recipe, look at the follow-up article, and watch the short video.  All that will take more time than you will spend making the best loaf of bread to ever come out of your kitchen.

Basically, you just mix flour, salt, a tiny amount of yeast, and water together, into a very loose dough. Cover and walk away. No kneading. Come back 18 or so hours later, form into a rough loaf, cover again, and walk away. No kneading. In 2 or 3 hours, drop the very soft, floppy loaf into a blazing hot dutch oven, cover, and put into the blazing hot oven that you preheated the dutch oven in. Bake for 30 minutes or so, take off the lid, and bake until it’s done. The dutch oven holds in the moisture of the dough, so you get the effect of the expensive steam-injected ovens that artisan bakers use. I’ve tried simulating this with a spray bottle at the beginning of baking, but this is much easier.

I used a very large cast iron dutch oven that held a tremendous amount of heat. When I took the lid off after 30 minutes, the loaf was already quite brown. I only baked it for another 10 minutes or so, as I didn’t want it to get too dark a brown. The internal temp. was 200F, so it was done. The crust could have been a bit thicker, so next time I think I’ll take the cover off at 20 minutes.

 And the recipe apparently lends itself well to variations, substituting some whole wheat flour for white, throwing in some dried fruit and nuts, or herbs.  Maybe I can make my own rosemary bread, instead of paying $3.50 a loaf for it . . .

Try it!  Eat it!  Enjoy!

PS– I’m tagging this for knitters, spinners, and weavers,  because if you make this bread, you’ll have more time to knit, spin, and weave! Serve this with a hunk of good cheese and an apple for dinner, and no one will complain.

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