So I’ve made a no knead bread before and it was To.Die.For.
You might think I am exaggerating. Well I’m not.
Truthfully (because I would be lying if I didn’t preface by saying that?), I don’t think there are many foods that are better then a fresh loaf of bread, a homemade fresh loaf just out of the oven. Ya, it is pretty much the best thing ever. The only people who might refute this are those that have never had homemade fresh bread out of the oven. And then if you add a slab of butter. Oh dear.
And for those that have never attempted homemade bread, this is the recipe to try.
A rainy Wednesday afternoon I got off of work early and headed straight home to get the bread started. My heart almost skipped a beat with excitement at the aroma wafting around my house from the bread baking…and the rain pouring. I don’t even like the rain, but this day, I LOVED it.
3 cups of warm tap water (the exact temp is just ‘warm’)
1 1/2 tablespoons (2 packets) active dry yeast (not instant)
1 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt
6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Grab a very large mixing bowl.
Mix the water, yeast and salt in the bowl. I let it sit for about 5 minutes.
Then dump the flour all at once and stir with a wooden spoon. You don’t need to knead this, and you’re not looking to make it come together into a dough ball. You just want everything mixed well, with no streaks of flour left, and you’re done. A wooden spoon didn’t completely mix it, so I ended up getting in there with my hands to mix it completely.
Leave it in your container, covered with a kitchen towel for a few hours (I started mine before I left for work in the morning, and came home 9 hours later). When it has risen and then deflated a bit, your dough is done. It’s ready to be used or stored in the refrigerator.
To bake the bread, just grab a chunk of dough, about the size of a grapefruit. Dust your hands with flour to help prevent sticking, and gently pull the sides of the dough toward the bottom, rotating the dough, until you get a roundish shape with a smooth surface. It should only take you about a minute or less to do this.
Put it on a cutting board that’s been dusted with cornmeal to prevent sticking, and let it rest for at least 40 minutes. If the dough has been refrigerated, it helps to let it rest a little more, until it’s no longer chilled (so maybe for about an hour or so)
Twenty minutes before you are ready to bake, put a cast iron skillet (or a pizza stone) in the middle rack of your oven, and put a cookie sheet in the bottom rack. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Dust some flour on the top of your loaf, and slash the top, about 1/4-inch deep.
After twenty minutes of preheating, it’s time to bake. Slide the loaf onto the baking stone, and then quickly pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the cookie sheet.
QUICKLY shut the oven door to keep the steam inside.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until you get a nice brown crust. Remove and let cool completely, if you can wait that long.
Note: we couldn’t wait to let it cool. I was starving and the smell of freshly baked bread makes me salivate. I Made a chicken dish with a white wine, bacon and mushroom sauce just so I would have a scrumptious sauce for dipping the bread in.
This meal = winner!!!! Cha ching.