Friday, May 29, 2009

Knead No More!

MMMmmmm Warm Bread with Cold Butter

I attempted to make bread only once, and that was 12 years ago; it was long, painful and a disaster.... All this changed yesterday when discovered an amazing way to bake the best bread! This recipe allows anyone to effortlessly bake loaf after loaf of premium artisan goodness. Everyday . . . without kneading the dough! HEAVEN! Frankly, ACE bakery bread is good, but who can afford to pay 4$ for Artisan bread all the time??

Here's how it works:

1) It requires very little yeast;

2) the dough is very wet;

3) no kneading is required;

4) the bread rises for a long time and

5) you can use a closed, pre-heated pot for baking. Together, these factors add up to the tastiest bread I have ever baked.

Crispy Crust:

The last secret to 'Real' Bread is the baking. Professional bakers have long known that the secret of a perfectly crisp crust is moisture. Baking bread in a moist oven keeps the surface supple and allows it to stretch fully before the heat of the oven sets the crust. They also have ovens that inject just the right amount of moist steam, at just the right time.

For 1 normal loaf of french style bread

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour
1/4 tsp dry yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 5/8 cups of warm water

For baking in a covered pot

  1. Whisk the dry ingredients together thoroughly in a glass, plastic or stainless steel bowl.
  2. Add the water and stir until a wet dough forms. Continue stirring until the dough incorporates all the loose flour in the bowl, about 60 seconds in total.
    Cover the bowl with a towel and rest in a warm place for 12 to 18 hours.(I sprinkle flour on top of the bread to avoid it sticking to the towel and prevent it from drying out).
  3. It will double in size, bubble and long gluten strands will form.
  4. Lightly flour your hands and the work surface then remove the dough from the bowl. Quickly form it into a ball.
  5. Thoroughly flour a cotton towel and rest the dough on it. Cover it with another floured cotton towel.
    You may also rest the dough on a non-stick ‘Silpat’ mat and cover it with just one towel.
  6. Rest the dough a second time. In 2 to 3 hours it will rise again and double in size once more.
  7. A half an hour or so before the dough is ready preheat your oven to 450 degrees. You may use cast-iron, steel, enamel or ceramic. If at all possible, warm your pot in the oven prior to putting the bread into it.
    When the dough has fully risen slide your hand under the towel and quickly invert the delicate dough into the hot pot.
  8. Shake the pot a bit to settle it then place the lid on the pot and start baking.
    Bake for 30 minutes with the lid then remove it and bake for 15 minutes more.

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