Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Originally published Nov. 8th, 2006 New York Times
This one is really easy, and the bread is as close to artisan you can get without going to all the trouble. A sourdough version follows.
There are 3 books we recommend, Lahey’s“My Bread”, Zoe Francois’ “Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day” , and Nancy Baggett’s “Kneadlessly SImple”.
Yields one 1 1/2 pound loaf
- 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
- ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
- 1¼ teaspoons salt (may take a hair more)
- Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.
- We, of course, recommend the Clay Coyote No-Knead Bread Baker (shown in the pictures) for mixing and baking. But, if you have to, any bowl will do. Interesting, a tagine makes a perfect baker also.
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. If your thermostat cuts back at night, place on stovetop, set oven to minimal temp (probably 150-170) and place a dish towel over the covered bowl.
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.
(Note, in the photos, I used a bread board, covered with the bowl in which the initial raising took place, and put the bowl over the dough upside down. Saves messing up a towel. If the bowl is warm, it will speed the raising).
4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 400 degrees. Put your Clay Coyote No-Knead Bread bowl (or other bowl if you have to) with lid in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, use hot pads to carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into the 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.
If you’ve got a starter, instead of yeast, put a 1/2 cup of starter in initial batter. Then follow the rest of the directions. Be sure to give it the full 18 hours or more. You’ll get a tangy sourdough loaf.