Funny how things go in and out of vogue. For a long while, all one heard about was an emphasis on no or low carb. Bread was on the no fly list. Then a measure of sanity resurfaced, and bread resumed its customary place on the table. That is not to say that an all carb diet is any better than a no carb diet. Just that moderation should rule the day.
I’m thinking about bread because I’ve made the simple no-knead loaf twice in the last couple of days. Once to give as a gift, and once to have at home. Sometimes, I forget just how easy it is to produce a terrific loaf of bread. I’ve posted this before, but I’m going to do it again. Both as a reminder to myself, and a little nudge to anyone who reads this blog that it might be time to enjoy this bread again.
The day before you want to make the bread:
Combine 3 C flour ( King Arthur AP or Bread), 3/4 TBS Kosher salt, 3/4 TBS rapid rise yeast, and 1 3/4 C room temperature water in a large enough bowl to allow for rising. Cover lightly and let rise for a couple of hours in a warm kitchen. I actually use an empty microwave for rising bread dough. It’s a nice cozy place without drafts, and it gets the bowl off of the counter. After this first rise, put the bowl in the refrigerator overnight.
The day you want to bake the bread:
Put a heavy pot with a close fitting cover ( I use a 4 Qt. Le Creuset ) in a 425 oven for an hour to get really hot. What you’re doing here is simulating a steam oven. At the same time, take the dough from the refrigerator and put it on a board sprinkled with a little flour. Form it into a round loaf and let it come to room temperature and relax while the pot is heating up. Think microwave again.
After about an hour, take the pot out of the oven, open the lid and pop in the dough. The shape doesn’t have to be perfect. BE CAREFUL. The pot is really hot. Put the covered pot back in the oven for a half hour. After a half hour, remove the cover and leave the pot in the oven, uncovered, for 15-17 minutes.
Remove the bread and let it cool on a rack for at least an hour, if not more. This is important. You won’t be happy with the texture of the bread if you tear right into it.
So easy. So good.