Breads & Breakfasts

No-Knead BreadDen & Donna

Katie Gill came to visit us & we got talking about making bread. She mentioned this bread & gave a suggestion where to find the recipe on the Internet. I did & have tried it. This makes a very hard-crusted, soft inside, loaf of Italian bread, perfect with soups, stews, pastas, whatever!

Time: About 1 & 1/2 hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising time.

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 & 1/4 teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

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.

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.

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.

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 1 & 1/2 pound loaf.

A few things I’ve learned while working with this:

1. Watch the handles of the pot, and the pot itself. Everything is HOT!
Be sure you have a place to set it down before you take it out of the oven
after the initial heating and after baking.
I use an open burner on top of the range. (small kitchen – limited space)

2. When you go to drop it in the pot – be sure you have it secure in 1 hand.
Use your other hand to hold back the corners of the towel so they don’t end up in the
pot, under the bread. And drop it in the middle!

3. Be prepared for cornmeal going everywhere – when you first pick it up in the towel,
it leaks out. When you flip it into the pot, more flies out.

If you can live with these facts, you’ll end up with a great loaf of crusty Italian bread.

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