OK. So really. Who the HECK makes their own bread?
Years ago while feeling domestic I made a few loaves here and there. All my memories of the process where about all of the kneading and kneading and kneading I had to do. I don’t even remember how great the bread tasted after baking it, but my kitchen was a mess and my hands hurt. So when my friend Mia mentioned this “awesome no knead bread recipe that you just HAVE to make” came up I shook my head no but said “yah that sounds great!” over the phone. “Call me when you have a pizza stone!” she said. Well as I’m addicted to making pizzas I purchased a stone (for only $10!) and gave her a call. “Bread recipe paaaaleease!” She promptly emailed me the following recipe which I will copy paste below (with a little editing) and with my own images… and seriously… with an 18 month old monster babe clawing at my heals I had NO trouble making this!
Ok, I’m going to try to transcribe this with all the helpful hints along the way, I would read it through first before you start though incase I fuck up 🙂
3 cups warm water
1 1/2 tbsp yeast or 2 packets (I actually use less than this sometimes, but start with the full amount and see how you like it)
1 1/2 tbsp kosher or other coarse salt
6 1/2 cups flour (use the scoop and sweep a knife across the top method, you don’t want it to be too packed)
cornmeal for the pizza peel ( do you have one of these? it really helps to have one) (Dalyn says – don’t need one. just get some parchment paper).
Warm the water to about 100 degrees f (Dalyn here – run your tap water on hot. The temperature just before it’s too hot to touch is good). Add the yeast, water and salt in a container or large bowl (with a cover that’s not totally airtight) that’s big enough to let the dough rise significantly, then add the flour a cup at a time, mixing with a spoon or fork until it’s all combined. For the last cup, you might need to use wet hands to make it really mix together uniformly, but you aren’t kneading here, just mixing.
After it’s mixed, let the dough sit on the counter in the same bowl for at least two hours. It will puff up and fill the container, and then the top will eventually go flat (Dalyn here – or NOT in my case, i just punched it down). After that 2- 1/2 hours throw it in the fridge for at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight. You can bake right away, but it’s harder to shape loaves that haven’t been refrigerated.
(Dalyn here – I pulled my chunk out after the 3 hours in the fridge and followed the following steps and it was Great!)
The next day, divide the dough into quarters visually, and then scoop out a quarter of the dough with your hand, using a serrated knife to cut the chunk away from the rest (you should have lots of flour on your hands. then you are going to rotate the dough chunk in your hand, grabbing and stretching it and pulling the stretched piece around to the bottom. If you do this four times, turning the dough a quarter turn each time, the top will go nice and smooth and round, and all the stretched sides will just adhere to the bottom and even out as it bakes. This whole process takes about 30 seconds, it’s just light. Also, feel free to sprinkle more flour on your hands or the dough if you find it too sticky.
Coat your pizza peel (or parchment paper) with a thin layer of cornmeal so the dough doesn’t stick, and plop the loaf down in the center of the cornmeal to let it rest. You probably won’t see it rise much during this time, it will spring up more in the oven. it should rest for about 40 min, and 20 min before baking you should preheat your oven to 450, and put a broiler pan on the bottom shelf (you’ll use this to hold water to create steam in the oven).
Right before you put the bread in, dust the top with flour and using a serrated knife, cut the dough with 1/4 inch deep cross or scallop pattern. cutting slashes in the dough allows it to stretch as it rises, if you don’t cut it you will get exploded balls instead of loaves.
With a quick flick of your wrist, slide the dough off the peel into the oven on the stone (Dalyn here – or just drag the loaf that’s on the parchment paper onto the pizza stone) , then carefully pour 2 cups of water into the broiler pan and quickly close the door. Bake for about 30 minutes ( you might want to get an oven thermometer to make sure you oven gets hot enough) until you have a nice deeply browned crust and the loaf sounds kind of hollow when you tap it.
Thank you Mia! the bread was a hit. I sliced it up, topped it with swiss cheese and placed it under the broiler for 3 mins for my onion soup. soooo good! *d