Friday, October 1, 2010
I'm on a no-knead bread kick. It started with the Rosemary and Garlic Bread, continued with the Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread and now I'm back to basics with this Artisan Bread. I can't get over how it's so easy to make such a great loaf of bread. Ask my husband, we've had round loaves of bread every weekend for nearly a month!
For the past two weekends I've baked loaves of this plain white bread, which I've named Artisan Bread because it's free-formed with a rustic coating of flour and a nice cracked top. I take five minutes to mix up the dough on Friday night, five minutes to fold and shape it on Saturday afternoon, and 35 minutes to bake it on Saturday night before dinner. We've enjoyed it with soup, with cheese, or toasted and slathered with cinnamon honey butter on Sunday morning. It's just a good basic bread. All you need is patience.
based no the No-Knead Method
3 cups bread flour
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1 5/8 cups of room temperature water
1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
2. Dough is ready when its 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. Lighty coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour; put dough seam side down on towel. 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, it may not look perfect, but it's fine. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 25 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.