As much as I love to bake cakes and desserts, I have never attempted making bread. I have been dying to try the no-knead recipe Chris posted on the Slow Talk Food Board. Today was the day! I made dough last night, let it rise until this morning at 10:00, sit until 12:00, and baked it in my new Le Creuset dutch oven! The kitchen smelled divine, and it tasted great! We each had a slice (mine slathered with butter), and then made a killer open-faced sandwich with soprasatta.
Here is my first EVER beautiful loaf:
Here are the some slices that show the texture. Try it yourself, or come visit to experience the TASTE!
Here is the RECIPE:
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting (I used bread flour, and now I'm trying 1/3 whole wheat, 2/3 bread)
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast (I used Active Dry and it worked fine)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt (I followed the recommendations on the other message board and upped this to 1.5 teaspoons)
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.
1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water (1.5 is enough with bread flour), 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. (Next time I'm using parchment paper--the dough sticks to the towel.) 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. (It's important to use a pan with a tight lid to keep the steam in. I used my 5.5 quart Le Creuset dutch oven. If you use this kind of pan, either remove the knob from the handle or wrap it in thick layers of foil to keep it from being damaged by this very hot oven.)
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 1 1/2-pound loaf.
Diva, here is my beautiful new Dutch oven I used to bake the bread: