A city chick trying to keep her creative side alive! "All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." - Pablo Picasso

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Baking Bread

I've always wanted to bake bread, but never wanted to deal with the hassel of kneading it. One too many kneads and it's hard as a rock. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to see this recipe for "NO KNEAD BREAD" in the Oregonian. I was so EASY, you just have to make sure you do it on a weekend when you can be around to bake it.

Here's how the dough looks after rising for 18 hours. Bubbly and a little gross!

But check this out... right out of the oven and BEAUTIFUL!

And it gets even better when you eat it!!!!!! Soft, but a little chewy. My only recommendation - use less salt! It was far too salty for my taste.

3 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour (I used King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour), plus more for shaping dough
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast (such as Fleischmann's RapidRise brand)
21/2 teaspoons salt, or more to taste
11/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons tepid water
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed
In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add the water and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and very sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18 hours, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles.

Turn dough out on a lightly floured work surface; sprinkle dough 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.
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 dust a cotton (not terry cloth) kitchen towel with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another kitchen towel and let rise for 2 to 3 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

At least 30 minutes before dough is ready, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put a heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic; anywhere from 31/2 quarts to 6 or 8 quarts) 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's OK. 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 nicely browned. Cool on a rack