Sunday, November 11, 2012

Crusty Bread

Apparently, I'm the only one on the planet who didn't know about this bread.   I just hate when I'm in the dark about such great ideas.  This simple no knead bread dough was printed in the New York Times years ago and the originator is Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery.  When telling my mom about this beautiful bread she said she knew all about it.  This bread is highly forgiving so you don't have to stress about the yeast & water temp dilemma which I always mess up.  What exactly is room temp because I seem to kill all yeast??  You don't have to have an enamel covered cast iron pot but I use mine with great results.  You can use anything oven casserole dish with a lid.  When I make this glorious loaf, I feel so very wholesome, fulfilled and centered.  Funny how bread can bread can do that!

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast (I use quick rise yeast so you can cut the rise time in half!)
1 1/2 cups water

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast. Add water and mix until a shaggy mixture forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 - 18 hours. Overnight works great. If using quick rise yeast about 6-8 hours is just fine.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees. When the oven has reached 450 degrees place an empty cast iron pot with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let set while the pot is heating. Remove hot pot from the oven and drop in the dough. Be careful to remember pot is hot!  Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes. Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.