Some things are best left to the professionals. I have no problem admitting that some things I have tried my hand at, have absolutely not worked out. Sometimes letting someone with the skills and proper equipment produce what I need, is okay. I used to think bread was one of these things… not anymore.
This recipe is super easy and well worth the wait. And the smell of fresh bread baking on a Saturday morning. Well, it doesn’t get any better.
Pinched from the New York Times, and with claims a 4 year old can do it, and the fact that I succeeded, means you can too. Try this, this weekend. You won’t be disappointed.
- 3 cups all-purpose, more for dusting
- ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
- 1¼ teaspoons salt
- In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1½ 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 21°C.
- 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 tea towel with flour, 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 250°C. Put a 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 okay. 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 20 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.