What We’re Eating: Bread!

I wasn’t sure what to post for today, so I thought I might share one of our favorite recipes since it’s getting chilly. Homemade bread is such a treat when it gets cold. I like to make a lot of soup and having a big hunk of freshly made bread to dunk in the soup makes it a super special treat.

We use a Mark Bittman’s cookbook for just about everything, and while we have about 4 huge cookbooks devoted to bread, this particular recipe from Bittman is a go to favorite. Probably because it’s very easy and yields an amazing loaf of bread. There’s that crackly crust you’re probably used to when you buy a loaf from a good bakery, and a chewy inside that tastes great warmed up and toasted. You do need to plan ahead, it needs to sit and rise for a long time, the longer the better! He posted the recipe in the New York Times way back in 2006, but it’s also featured in his cookbook, which we highly recommend. There’s also a vegetarian version of the cookbook. Enjoy! And if you end up making this bread, let us know! Happy baking.


Recipe: No-Knead Bread

Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery

Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting

¼ teaspoon instant yeast

1¼ teaspoons salt

Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, 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. 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. 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 1½-pound loaf.

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