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