Sunday, March 27, 2011

No Knead Artisan Bread Loaf

Aahh...fresh bread! Is there anything better? And it's even better when you've made it right in your oven. You don't have to go to a fancy, over priced bakery. Impossible you say? I used to think so too. My relationship with yeast has been a turbulent one to say the least. (Like my rhyme??) I could never get it right. My bread was always a big disappointment. So much hard work and the kneading....oh the kneading, left me with nothing but a loaf more suitable for a game of hockey than to serve at our dinner table. But finally one day I stumbled across an article by Mark Bittman of the New York Times. He talked about a baker in NY, Jim Lahey, who shared with him his recipe for no knead bread. He said it was a no fail recipe (oh how many, many times I had heard that before!). But something about his conviction sold me. And now I am a believer! Trust me when I tell you that if I can do this, you can do this. I've adapted this recipe a bit to fit our taste. I've made this bread now so many times. You can experiment with different kinds of flour and even add seasonings for an endless variety. Follow the will come out PERFECT every time!

No Knead Artisan Bread Loaf:
3 cups flour (any type)
1/4 tsp yeast (any type)
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups water (distilled)
Corn meal for dusting

Combine flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Then add water and mix only until dough looks shaggy. Cover with plastic wrap and store in a warm place for 18-24 hrs to ferment (I stick the bowl on top of our fridge).

Flour your hands and fold the dough over itself a few times on a floured surface. Let it sit for 2 hrs covered in a cotton towel.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees with your dish inside 30 min before your 2 hours are up.

**Helpful Notes**
Don't preheat the lid. Some people use a 5 quart enamaled cast iron pot.  I use the inside dish of my crock great! Whatever you use, make sure that the handle to the lid and the dish can sustain the high temperature. I just unscrew the plastic handle on my crock pot lid and cover it with aluminum foil.

Take out the preheated pot and using the cotton towel, CAREFULLY roll the dough inside. Shake the pot to evenly distribute the dough. Sprinkle with corn meal. Cover with the lid and bake at 450 degrees for 30 min covered, then 450 degrees for 5-10 min uncovered.

Let cool for 1 hour before slicing. There's nothing better!

Makes 1 loaf

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