|Photo: The New York Times|
Thank you, Mark Brittman of The New York Times and breakmaker, Jim Lahey, for your recipe. This artisan bread has less yeast and no milk, eggs, butter or sugar, unlike many other bread recipes.
What I like about it is: 1) the ingredients are pared down; 2) it's for a single loaf; and 3) time does the kneading for you. Simplicity.
What I don't like is: 1) it takes 12-18 hours to rise; and 2) the bread calls for all white flour; plus 3) it will dry out, if not eaten within a day or so.
So what's a home baker to do? I changed the recipe slightly:
No Knead Artisan Bread My Way
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon quick rising yeast
1/2 teaspoon of vinegar
1 5/8 cups of warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil
Extra flour, plus olive oil for you hands.
1) Put your flour and dry ingredients into a bowl. Stir together uniformly.
2) Next pour in the water, olive oil and vinegar.
3) Stir into a dough (using your hands if you wish). Sprinkle the dough and your hands with a little flour to prevent sticking and mix it until the dough is elastic. Towards the end, I wet my hands with a little olive oil so the dough won't stick. The olive oil also seems to give the bread extra shelf life after it is baked.
4) Roll the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 8-12 hours. I put the dough inside the oven with just the pilot light to keep it warm.
5) After it has tripled in size, fold the dough over a few times (I don't mess with it too much, just enough to shape it), then transfer the dough to a round pan. Cover it again with plastic wrap.
6) Let it rise in a warm place for another 1 1/2 hours before popping it into a preheated dutch oven pan, then placing it into a preheated 450 degree F oven.
7) Bake covered with a lid at 450 degrees F for about 30 minutes.
8) Finally, remove the lid and bake for another 5 minutes if you want a soft crust, or 15 minutes to get a hard crust.
This easy-to-make, fresh baked artisan bread is a keeper. Enjoy!
Extra tips: Personally, I mix and let the bread rise both times in a big Wok (with a glass lid) before transfering it to a heated Dutch oven to bake. This eliminates washing a mixing bowl, a cutting board, a second rise pan and the need to use plastic wrap to cover the bowl; instead I use the Wok's lid. Yes, I am that lazy! But use whatever you have. A mixing bowl (with plastic wrap) is fine.
Before you preheat your oven, put the rack on a lower level.
You can bake your bread in a heavy duty aluminum loaf pan to get a loaf shape, if you wish. Just remember to cover it with aluminum foil to bake. Remove the cover after 30 minutes to get a crust as you would with a Dutch oven. Once in while when baking in an aluminum loaf pan, the bottom of the bread looks soggy, yet done, so I'll pop it upside down on a baking sheet and bake that way for an extra 5 minutes the get a perfect loaf of bread: crunchy on the outside, moist and fluffy on the inside.
I also like letting the bread rise overnight. So Friday or Saturday nights are ideal times to start. Then you can bake the bread early the next day.
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