recession-bread-1

OK, I suck at baking, am cheap, lazy, dumb and live at an altitude that I’m sure would make it almost impossible to bake anything if I ever bothered to try. That said, even I am capable of making this perfect, beautiful, moist, delicious, yeasty bread (with apologies to the enemies of gluten). It’s so good that you would think that I have magical powers. It’s like a party trick. Yes you, too, can wow your friends with hot and delicious bread.

First off, I did not invent this bread. My wife and I found out about it from Ele Annand’s blog GoAwayWinter.com. She found out about it from the The New York Times, which adapted it from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking. Which is all to say that we didn’t invent it. That said, I’ve now shared this bread with enough people to realize that enough people don’t yet know about it. So we’re spreading the gospel. I can’t stop baking it.

Now, this recipe IS adapted to make ONE loaf of bread. You’re obviously more than welcome to follow the the recipe at The New York Times for more loaves and if you DON’T have a covered baking dish. However, we like the one loaf recipe and Ele’s suggestion of using a Dutch Oven (or any other covered baking dish or claypot, which work equally well because they all keep in the moisture).

So here it is:

3 cups of unbleached, organic flour + extra for dusting (approx .85 cents)
1 and 1/4 tsp salt (approx .02 cents)
1/4 tsp yeast (approx .02 cents)
1 and 5/8 cup of water (approx .01 cents).

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl then add the water and stir it all together until it’s a lump that looks like this:

photo14

Then cover it up, preferably with a wet dish towel over the top. We like to wrap the towel around a plate so it stays fairly moist. Like this:

photo15

The reason you do this is to keep the bread from drying out because it’s going to sit for about 8 to 12 hours to rise. That’s right: NO KNEADING!

The second rise is shorter, but equally important. Once the bread has risen and doubled (approximately), dust the top with flour, scrape it from the sides of the bowl and flip it around a couple of times. Then cover it again (remoisten towel if necessary). It’ll look like this:

photo19

Then, in an hour or two (preferably two if you want it to be lighter and fluffier), preheat your over to 425 degrees with your well-greased (butter or oil both work) covered baking dish in the oven. Once it’s hot, take the baking dish out, dump the bread in and bake it for 30 minutes and it’ll be perfect. If you time it right and get up early to feed your dog or iguana, you can do the second rise at 6 a.m. and then bake it 8 a.m. for a breakfast treat. Or you can do the second rise when you get home from work and have it hot on the table by 7 p.m. When it’s done it’ll look like this (I swear on unleavened bread—it’s amazing!):

photo16

Enjoy! You’ll never buy a $5 loaf of bread again… probably.

photo17

For further reading in the kneadless bread genre, you might also check out this excellent book: Kneadlessly Simple: Fabulous, Fuss-Free, No-Knead Breads by Nancy Bagget.

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15 Responses to Idiot-Proof, 5-Minute, 90 cent High-Altitude Recession Bread

  1. Karen says:

    wow I love it…I’ll try it today! I look forward to all my emails from KRCC.

  2. Nancy Wilsted says:

    Oh Martha, how you do go on!

  3. Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, from whence this is adapted, is my bread bible. I mix enough dough for four loaves each week, do the first rise, then refrigerate it and take out enough to bake a loaf several times throughout the week. There are recipes for European peasant loaves, whole wheat, pumpernickel, and many other varieties with no kneading ever. It’s a brilliant system. I bake at sea level, but if it works in Colorado Springs, as you have testified, it’s no less than a miracle.

  4. Ann says:

    Nice! I use a sour dough starter for some variety.

  5. Liz Arnold says:

    What a great exercise in patience – good for adults and children alike. We are going to make it today! YUM

  6. Daisy says:

    What is the ideal timing on this if you want to have bread in the morning, just leave it overnight for the long rise?

  7. Daisy says:

    oh, sorry, you answer that question in the article, never mind!

  8. Ann says:

    There’s a video on Cook’s Illustrated that shows how to make it , step by step. The only difference is the second raise is in a bowl on parchment paper and that acts as a sling to transfer it to the very hot dutch oven. Parchment paper stays put, drop the lid on.
    As a variation on a theme, I put this in a preheated oven on a hot pizza stone and made a steam bath out of a cookie pan filled with water on the top rack. Works if you don’t have a huge pot that can go in the oven.

    Cheers,
    Ann

  9. Sunshine says:

    This may seem like a dumb question…do I cover this while baking?

  10. Delaney says:

    Yes, you cover it while baking. Don’t forget to pre-heat the pot. :)

  11. Debby PC says:

    I didn’t use a cover while baking and this came out great anyway. I did pre-heat the pot. I love kneading bread and was skeptical about this recipe but YUM. I will definitely make it again. Sprinkled some sea salt and rosemary on before baking which was a nice touch.

  12. Daisy says:

    Ok, we’ve made this a bunch of times now, it is so good! I tried baking in a loaf pan for sandwich bread but it’s a bit less crusty that way. I think I like baking it in my pasta pot best, which sounds nutty but works well. Thanks!

  13. Pam says:

    The recipe calls for 1/4 tsp. of yeast. The yeast all came in 1/4 oz. packages. I looked in Joy of Cooking and their recipes called for 1/4 oz., so that is what I used. There is a lot of difference in the 2 measurements. The yeast packet said 1/3 tsp. is one serving (a slice). It rose really fast. Which is correct for this recipe? Also most recipes call for warm water to be added, do you use warm or cold?

  14. Caweahusnfav says:

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  15. [...] ourselves as foodies, but we occasionally come across a recipe so simple and so delicious (see our Idiot-Proof, High-Altitude Recession Bread) that we feel compelled to share it with you in hopes of goading busy/lazy mediocre cooks like [...]

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