One of my new year’s resolution this year was to bake more bread. It’s something that I always say I’m going to do and then I just buy a nice sourdough loaf or baguette instead out of laziness. In the meantime, the amount of recipes in my “Bread” bookmark category has grown to absurd amounts and I think it’s time to fix it. I also got to use these cute little Matryoshka dolla cup measurers I got for Christmas!
I wanted to start with the New York Times No-Knead bread because I’m slightly in love with my Dutch Oven and any recipe that can utilize it has been going to the top of my priority list. Turns out that it probably wasn’t the best bread for me to make. Because of the no need to knead (hehe) it requires a very long rise time in a warm place, which turned out to be difficult IN Seattle IN January IN a house in which blasting the heat all day is not possible.
For the first few hours I put it on the top rack in a slightly warmed oven with a large cast iron skillet filled with boiling water on the bottom rack. Then I went to bed and didn’t feel like waking up every hour to turn on the oven briefly then back off so the dough was left to fend for itself in a cold oven. Because of this the bread didn’t rise as it was supposed to and was slightly denser than expected. However it was still good enough for me to not give up on my resolution yet.
Stay tuned for more bread recipes! I also promise to post some of the things I cooked over the holidays soon!
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 warm water, and stir until blended. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest at least 12-18 hours at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
2. Once 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 with flour and 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. 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.