The sparse and lonely crumbs left on the cutting board would have to agree with my husband who says, “this is the best bread you’ve ever made”. I agree with him too. They devoured it. It took me twenty-four hours of waiting and it was gone within an hour once it was ready. I can’t blame them though. This is the best homemade bread I’ve ever made. I knew it was special when I could hear it cooling on the rack, crackling away.
I started making bread about three years ago, just on a whim. I thought I’d give it a try after reading a “no-knead” bread recipe. It sounded appealing, since the only real “work” is waiting to eat delicious bread. Granted, I don’t enjoy waiting for bread, but this bread is definitely worth the wait.
I’ve tried several different recipes, all of which were very similar. For whatever reason, this one is flat out amazing and miles above the rest. I’m making it again now (as it sits on the counter for tomorrow).
They can’t get their fill fast enough!
- 3 cups/375 g all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
- Cornmeal, wheat bran or extra flour, as needed
- Whisk together flour, salt and yeast in a bowl. Stir in 1 1/2 cups/375 ml water. After stirring it should be wet, shaggy and sticky. Cover the bowl with a clean, dry kitchen towel or a loose fitting lid (that allows for air to flow). Set it aside to rest on the kitchen counter top for 24 hours, no less than 12 hours. It’s ready for the next step when the surface is dotted with bubbles. Flour a work surface and dump the dough out onto it. Sprinkle over a little more flour and fold it once or twice. Cover again with the towel and let rest 15 minutes.
- Using only enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your fingers, shape the dough into a ball. Coat a cotton towel with cornmeal, wheat bran or flour and lay the dough on it, seam-side down. Dust with more cornmeal, wheat bran or flour. (You need quite a lot because you want to be sure the dough doesn’t stick to the towel). Cover and let rise for about 2 hours. When ready, the dough will be more than double in size.
- A half an hour before the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F/230 degrees C. Put a 2-liter cast-iron pot or Dutch oven inside to heat.
- When the dough is ready, remove the pot from the oven and turn the dough into it, seam-side up. (It will look messy, but this is OK.) Shake the pot to settle the bread evenly. Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake until the loaf is nicely browned, another 15 to 30 minutes. Cool on a rack.
Source: Laura Calder: French Food at Home. Episode, “The Bread Show”