Skip the bread line

bread-riotsThe price of bread has been a major cause of riot and revolution throughout history. The three or four bucks we shell out today for a loaf hasn’t stirred us to looting, but it may start a revolution in our kitchens.

All you need to make bread that blows the supermarket bakery away is a few pennies’ worth of simple ingredients–flower, yeast, salt, and water–a dutch oven pot, and patience. This recipe, dscn3183from Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery via Mark Bittman of the New York Times, doesn’t require kneading, so no skill or experience is necessary. Just remember to mix the ingredients a day in advance, and nature will take care of the rest.

Find the recipe after the break, and save your rioting for the things that really matter, like sporting events and Rage Against the Machine concerts.

“No-Knead Bread
Mark Bittman, adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

dscn31853 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

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. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. 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, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.”

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I skip the plastic wrap and simply cover the dough with the bowl in which I mixed it. Likewise for the next stage, instead of wrapping the dough with a cotton towel, which makes for a sticky mess and requires you to toss it in the laundry, I cover the dough with the bowl again. Works fine.


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