Saturday, May 16, 2020

This Bread Recipe is Everything

No-Knead Dutch Oven Bread


1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1-1/2 cups warm water, warm bath warm... not hot, but almost hot
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting. You may use white, whole wheat or a combination of the two.
1-1/2 tsp salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran for dusting, or use olive oil

1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add the flour and salt, stirring until blended. The dough will be shaggy and sticky.
You can cover the dough with a damp cloth, and place it some place warm.Let the dough rest at least 8 hours, preferably 12 to 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees. (At this point I've made herb bread... adding a heaping tablespoon of dried onion bits, poppy seeds, and dried dill with the flour, and mixing it all in. I am sure any favorite seasonings could work.)

2. The 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. Let it rest for about 15 minutes.

3.Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface or to your fingers, gently shape it into a ball... or a baguette, or a traditional slicing loaf, or divide it into several smaller balls. It can bake round, or oblong on a baking sheet, or in a loaf pan, or you can let it rise and then flatten it out as a focaccia, or use as pizza dough.
I've baked it on flour or cornmeal, and it does nicely baked on a pan coated in oil. So, decide which you method you want to use, and let your dough have its final, two hour rise, on cornmeal, or flour, or olive oil.
Put the seam side of the dough down on the pan (something with a rim, if you are using olive oil, or in the oiled bread loaf, or on a cookie sheet dusted with flour or cornmeal.)
Cover with another towel and let rise for about 1 to 2 hours. When it’s ready, the dough will have doubled in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least 20 minutes before the dough is ready, heat oven to 475 degrees. (I do not have a Dutch oven... I have used a soup pot, but it was a hassle, so I only bake in a dough pan, or on a rimmed cookie sheet, and I do not pre-heat those.

5. Bake for 30-40 minutes (check it! baking times and over temperatures vary) until the loaf is beautifully browned. Remove the bread from the pan and let it cool on a rack for at least 1 hour before slicing.
Yield: One 1-1/2-pound loaf.

This is how I do it... and the link above is to the original recipe that got me going in the first place. I never did bake it in an actual Dutch oven, and other steps I've altered as well. So, what you see posted on the blog is what I've been doing for the last eight years. I love this recipe, the dough, the breads. It's forgiving and versatile. I've posted about it many times, and since then, I've seen the memes about bloggers that hide recipes at the bottom of ten page narratives. Guilty. So, in the interest of expediency, I opened with the recipe and directions, and you can take that and run off to get baking! Enjoy!

Now, for my ten page narrative! Alex and Bambi planned to make pizzas for Friday's dinner, so I offered to prepare dough. I went with this recipe, because I know it. I started the dough at 9pm, Thursday. The next day, 12 hours later, I should have followed step 2, but I was distracted, thinking about Max's graduation, and what to do about virtual commencement. By the time I remembered I had three bowls of dough rising, it was 1pm, Friday. I jumped directly to step 3., but because we were not going to bake bread, and we would be starting dinner much later, I divided the dough into softball sized rounds, and place them in an oiled baking dish, then covered it with plastic wrap and put all of it in the refrigerator. Last night, about 8pm, we heated the oven, and with our hands, simply smashed the dough into round-ish pies on either olive oiled cookie sheets, or floured cookie sheets... both methods were easy and yielded good results. Everyone topped their own pizzas and dinner was delicious. And! We had five leftover balls of dough. I covered them, and put them back in the refrigerator, hoping they'd be ok to bake the next day.

This morning I warmed up the oven to 450, brought out the cold dough and put it in an oiled pie dish, and let it rise while the oven heated. Then I got busy preparing breakfast, pulling weeds, juicing oranges and lemons... the dough was rising for about an hour. I drizzled a little olive oil over it and sprinkled salt and Italian seasoning, then baked it. We devoured it with our coffee, and juice, some scrambled eggs with chard and peppers. It was so good, with a crunchy crust, and soft inside... it was like we were waking up in a Tuscan villa. And this happy pleasure from leftover dough that I neglect, alter, and misuse. I am so delighted with this one easy recipe that can yield all of these good results.

I love this bread! And the following are links for ideas and tips for making No-Knead bread...

The first time I made No-Knead Dutch Oven Bread.

Dutch bread makes excellent French Toast.

Same recipe, that makes sandwich bread, or a baguette, can be used for a focaccia, pizza dough. It's so versatile!

One time I had MNO friends over and everyone took home the dough from step one, so I posted a tutorial to show them steps 2-5.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can attest... it's REALLY good bread!