No Knead Bread

As the title indicates you do almost no kneading of this bread.

This produces a european style bread - crusty with large bubbles. It's shaped like a boule. It is a simple bread and tastes great. It is best as toast.

I found this to be pretty easy but with a few warnings -
- When you do the "fold over" push it down pretty hard.
- Don't put it on the towel. It will stick like glue and be nearly impossible to get off. Maybe if I'd used cornmeal...
- This is a two day project. You may want to mix it up the night before so the first 12-18 hours is over night. I'd suggest mixing it up about 9pm then around 3-5pm the next day finish the operation. I've been mixing it at 4pm then work with it at 10am and cook around 12:30.
- I found using 18 plus hours seems to produce a better bread. (see note below)

3        cups bread flour (or all-purpose flour) plus more for dusting
1/4    teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed (I didn't use this)

In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast and salt. Stir the dry ingrediants to disperse the yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8ths cups of water and stir until blended; the dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Dump the dough onto a floured cookie sheet. I use a spoon to sort of cut the dough off the bowl. Put flour on your hands and and the dough, pat the surface until it feels dry and not sticky. You don't want too much flour. Fold the dough over on itself, push it down pretty firmly, then fold and push it down again. You might have to add more flour to your hands and dough to keep it from getting too sticky.

Cover it losely with plastic and let it rest for about 15 minutes.

Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape the dough into a ball with the nasty side down. let it rise about 2 hours. When it is ready, the dough will be more then double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

Half an hour before the dough is ready, heat the oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6-8 quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic - aka a Dutch oven) in the oven as it heats. When the dough is ready, CAREFULLY remove the pot from the oven. Slide your hand under the towel and turn the dough over into the pot seam side up (I just dump it off the cookie sheet using the spoon technique); it may look like a mess, but that's ok. Shake pan once or twice firmly if the dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with the lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake another 15 minutes, until the loaf is beautifully browned (pretty dark). Cool on a rack.

This is a loaf I made Dec 26, 2007 also the pan I cooked it in. It took two nights to get it to develop a few bubbles on the surface, probably because our house is a little cool. It looks good. (I think it's not brown enough.)

I recently read that the extra flavor is because the mass tends to ferment because of the long rise time. Sort of like sourdough.

A picture