Homemade bread. Just looking at this picture makes my mouth water.
I love how a simple party involving yeast, flour and a sprinkle of salt can result in something so beautiful. I'm still learning my way around the potential of yeast so pulling this gorgeous loaf out of the oven did make my heart flutter just a little.
This recipe has been doing the rounds all over the internet. It's not hard to see why. The ingredients are simple, there's no kneading (yes, no kneading!) and the baking with steam method results in the most deliciously chewy and professional-looking shiny crust. Artisan-like. Well, I like to think so!
The golden chewy crust gives way to a soft but springy middle. Great big bubbles of air give lightness in a dense but fluffy bread you can actually taste. No blandness or doughiness here. It's the kind of bread you want to enjoy served only with butter. In big fat slices.
No-knead easy crusty bread
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
6 1/2 cups (about 820g) plain flour + extra
1/4 cup polenta
In a large bowl, combine yeast and salt in 3 cups of warm water.
Add flour and stir until it is all incorporated into the dough. The dough will be very wet.
Cover bowl loosely with cling film or a tea towel and leave in a warm spot for 2-5 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.
Remove the cover from the bowl and sprinkle a handful of flour over the top. This recipe makes four loaves so cut out roughly a quarter of the dough and transfer to a lightly floured bench-top.
Place dough on a tray lined with polenta-covered baking paper. [Technically the dough is supposed to rise on a pizza paddle but I don't have one and transferring by hand did not work!].
Let the dough rest for 40 minutes, and either repeat this process with the remaining dough or place it in the fridge (the dough will keep for a maximum 2 weeks in an airtight container).
After 20 minutes, get your oven ready. Place a large and deep roasting tin on the bottom on your oven, and a pizza stone on the middle rack. Turn on the oven to 230C and allow to heat to the correct temperature (I use an oven thermometer to make sure the oven is really as hot as I think it is - they're invaluable and can usually be found for under $10).
Boil / microwave one cup of water.
When the oven is hot, sprinkle the top of the rested loaf with a light dusting of flour. Make three short diagonal slashes across the top of the loaf with a serrated or lightly oiled sharp knife (you don't want the knife dragging across the top).
Transfer the loaf directly onto the hot pizza stone in the oven, either by hand or by using the baking paper to help you slide it onto the stone. The loaf needs to sit directly onto the hot stone to ensure a good crust on the bottom.
Pour one cup of water into the roasting tray and then quickly shut the oven door to trap in the steam. You only need steam for the first 5-10 min of baking.
Bake the bread for about 20-30 minutes or until browned and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
Makes: 4 loaves
Store in a brown paper bag. Do not use a plastic bag or the bread will soften. It also freezes well in slices and kept in a zip-lock bag.
Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Irish soda bread (no yeast)
Maple walnut bread
Easter hot cross buns 1
Easter hot cross buns 2
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4/30/2009 12:10:00 a.m.