Saturday, September 4, 2010
NO NEED TO KNEAD!
This is the most fantastic bread ever, it has the most crunchy, crusty crust I have ever tasted from a home oven. The center is just what bread should be, brim full of flavour, with a texture like ciabatta, but slightly softer. It is a very forgiving bread, it allows you to experiment to your hearts desire with different flours, my favourite is to use one third wholemeal to two thirds strong white, but rye is really good in there too, and I plan to use some granary next time I make it.
I was first introduced to this bread by the very talented Coby, from the wonderful "The Claytons Blog", she in turn followed Jim Lahey's recipe - please try this if like me you lack in confidence on the yeast front (!!), actually if you haven't tried it before make it your weekend baking project (is my bossy nature showing????).
Just a word of warning ..... the directions sound much more complicated than they actually are, this one is easy peasy lemon squeezy!!!!
3 Cups Flour (if white use strong or Italian 00 flour) but experiment to find what works best for you.
1/4 tsp Yeast (not a typo that is all you use)
1 tsp Salt
1 1/2 Cup+ 2 tbsp water from the tap (ie. not warmed)
In a large bowl combine the flour, yeast and salt.
Add the water - the dough should be shaggy and sticky.
Cover the bowl with cling film and leave for 12 - 18 hours at warm room temperature.
The dough is ready when the surface is dotted with bubbles.
Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle with a little more flour and fold over on itself a couple of times.
Cover loosely with cling film and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to the work surface gently and quickly shape the dough into a ball.
Generously coat a cotton tea towel (not terry) with flour /bran/cornmeal (I think the cornmeal tastes best).
Put the ball of dough seam side down on the tea towel and sprinkle with more cornmeal/flour/bran.
Cover with another towel and leave for 2 hours.
After 1 1/2 hours turn the oven on at 220 C, and put a heavy covered casserole type pot (dutch oven) in it to heat up.
The dough will have doubled in size when it is ready.
Remove the hot pot from the oven BE VERY CAREFUL.
Slide your hand under the towel and turn the dough over into the pot.
Shake the pan once or twice to distribute evenly.
Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the lid and bake for 15 - 30 minutes uncovered. (It should be a lovely golden brown colour)
Cool on a wire rack.
Eat with lashings of good butter/olive oil.