Last November, The New York Times published this no-knead bread recipe from Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery and food bloggers everywhere went berserk. But it requires some time and I couldn’t squeeze in a day and a half to try it myself last year. Fast-forward five months later and I’ve adjusted the recipe according to the trials and errors posted on the Web and finally tried it at home this past weekend when the summer weather called for my own homemade bread.
As you may or may not know, I’m scared of baking. I’m a better cook than baker because with cooking, I can adjust ingredients and steps by taste. I feel like with baking, I can never turn back. Baking makes me afraid of making mistakes while cooking allows me to make room for circumstances that may be beyond my control. So you can imagine when I tried this recipe and it came out looking like, well, bread. I was squealing with delight! I sat down with my mother, opened a bottle of Chateau de La Chaize and ate it with cheese and anchovies, pintxos style.
3 cups all-purpose white flour, more for dusting
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water
1. In a large glass bowl, combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 1/2 cups water and stir with a wooden spatula until blended. Your dough will be sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
2. 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 for about 15 minutes.
3. 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 towel (not terry cloth) with flour. Put dough on the towel and dust the top of the dough with more flour. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for another 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.
4. At least 30 minutes before dough is ready, heat oven to 450Âº. Put a large Dutch oven in the oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Gently place dough into pot. It will still be a little sticky. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed. It may look like a mess but it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake for 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a chopping block.