Dough rising on silpat mat
Dough rising on cutting board
My victorious attempt at Focaccia! (before baking, poke holes, drizzle in some garlic, herbs and olive oil and shake on some rock salt)
The beautiful loaf just out of the oven...YUM!
My Focaccia and country loaf just before being devoured...
First I would like to say: HAPPY NEW YEAR, everybody!
I am about to share something magical with you....I want you all to try it...DON'T BE AFRAID to try--it's the new year! The other day I made some bread...and it ruled, it ruled harder than the most fablious (addie-speak) French bakery bread. On November 8 the NYT had an article entitled "No-Knead bread recipe" and in the following weeks the article caused a blog overload. The internet was bread-crazy because something that had been done for thousands of years in the home but had somehow virtually vanished in the last 50 years was BACK. One little article has made it possible for anyone who can get their hands on flour, yeast and a covered pot to make a blistered, hard crust loaf of bread with a soft squishy inside. It's the kind of bread you could slather with butter and jam, olive oil and garlic or melt some cato corner cheese on top with radicchio & balsamic vinegar. SO, now I am going to say again: please, put the time in and make this bread; you will be amazed with your results. Just think, my father in law, Tom Gerety, is a bread making WIZARD now.
Some food for thought: It's super gloppy so don't think that you did something wrong (here is a great second article on the bread craze in the NYT...READ IT). If you use Le Creuset, YOU must unscrew the plastic handle on top or it will MELT (they melt over 400 degrees). If you have a silpat (silicone mat), USE it to let the dough rise. I used organic unbleached white flour--c'est maginifique!
Recipe: No-Knead Bread
Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.
1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 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 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 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, wheat bran or cornmeal; 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.
4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart 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 O.K. 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 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.