Saturday, May 19, 2007

Making Bread

It's so cold here in New England, despite it being May 19th, so thoughts turn to making the house warm and lightly scented. What better than bread? Now, we have a KitchenAid mixer, so kneading isn't really a concern. However, sometimes it's nice to not really have to work for your bread. With this in mind, I present to you a recipe I got from the New York Times, for No-Knead Bread. You can set this up at night, and bake it when you come home from work the next day.

3 cups flour (bread or all-purpose)
1/4 t instant yeast
1.25t salt (I think it needs more--use your judgement)

Combine above in a bowl. Add 1 5/8 C water and stir. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 12-18 hours. Fold the dough over on itself a couple of times on a cutting board and allow to rest 15'. Shape the dough into a ball, and dust with cornmeal. Cover with a towel, place on another towel, and allow to rise 2 hours. While it rises, place an oven-safe pan with a lid into a cold oven, and preheat to 450. CAREFULLY remove the pot from the oven, place the dough inside, and shake the pan to evenly distribute the dough. Cover and bake 30', then remove the lid and finish baking 15-30'--bread is done when it's a lovely brown.

The thing I really like about this method is the wonderful crispy crust you get. This bread also made wonderful stuffing a couple days after baking. It is really sticky in the towel phase, so be sure to use lots of flour or cornmeal--I would recommend a 1/3 flour 2/3 cornmeal mix, to prevent your final loaf from being insanely floury on the outside. Enjoy the minimal effort/maximal reward feeling when you eat!