The other day, I had a break in my experiments and was able to come home on the early side. Besides wanting to get out of the house to enjoy the all-too-rare a treat of being outdoors during daylight hours, I knew for certain that I was going to take advantage of this afternoon home by starting up a batch of no-knead bread for breakfast the next morning. I'd made it once before, with absolutely fantastic results, and I had been waiting for the next opportunity to make it again. It's hard to beat hot, fresh-baked bread in the morning! Maybe it's all those childhood memories of waking up to the smell of bread in my grandfather's bakery, or maybe there's just something inherently happy about a piping-hot loaf of bread.
What draws me to this bread so much is its crunchy, crackling crust on the outside and the soft, fluffy crumb on the inside. It reminds me of a good ciabatta bread, and I love eating it still warm from the oven. Smeared with some soft honey and with a cup of tea alongside, it made for a wonderful breakfast.
video convinced me to give it a go, and truly, no deception here, this bread is easy to make and oh-so-good! One thing I would note is that having an enclosed baking environment at the beginning is key; covering the bread and subsequently trapping the emitted steam essentially simulates the effects of a professional steam-injection oven, producing a nice, springy bread and a fantastic, crunchy crust.
My sister has gotten into the habit of making most things from scratch, be it sauerkraut, yogurt, or bread, but with a little three year-old running around, time is always an issue for her. Given how streamlined this recipe is, I knew she'd love it, and it's now a go-to recipe in her weekly bread-baking schedule. If you don't have an oven-proof, lidded pot, you might like my sister's modification to the baking process: she's been using a pre-heated pizza stone with a foil dome to cover the bread during the first half hour of baking.
From Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. instant yeast
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups water (room temperature)
Place the flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl and mix a few seconds until thoroughly combined. Add water and stir a few seconds, pulling the ingredients together until you form a dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature 15-19 hours.
After dough has risen, and before moving on to the next step, place a heavy, oven-proof, lidded pot into the oven and pre-heat your oven to 500 F. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and fold the dough in thirds, bringing the opposite sides together at the center. Turn 90 degrees and repeat the folding for the other two sides.
Place dough seam side down onto some wheat bran, then invert (seam side up) into the pre-heated pot (diameter of pot should be at least as wide as the diameter of your dough). Cover immediately with hot lid and back 30 minutes, covered. Remove lid and bake an additional 10-20 minutes until bread is golden brown under the wheat bran.
Remove from oven and let cool slightly before slicing and enjoying.