This is no-knead bread, simplified. In a perfect world, I would make all of my family's food from scratch. This is not a perfect world. However, I have fiddled with this recipe to the point where it is easier to bake bread than to go to the store and buy it. There is no over night waiting, and you get one loaf today and dough waiting in the fridge for another loaf later in the week.
I know gluten isn't cool and carbs have fallen out of vogue; but if you are a lover of crusty, chewy, warm from the oven bread, you have got to give this a try. What it lacks in trendiness, it makes up for in comfort. I usually make it with an even split of whole wheat and white flour, but 100% of either flour makes a delicious loaf as well. Just have "normal" active yeast? Me too, and it's no problem. Seriously, this could not be simpler. I was once a bread baking phobic; but no longer, it is really as simple as flour + yeast + water.
As with most good things, there is some wait involved. I will often get the process started by 11 am Sunday for a loaf with dinner Sunday night, and another Tuesday or Wednesday. The first loaf is serviceable: warm, crusty and delicious. But that second loaf? Nothing short of divine. Everyone deserves a little divinity mid-week.
Super Simple Homemade Bread (Adapted from Jim Lahey's No-Knead Bread)
Yields 2 loaves (one today, one later)
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- Or: any ratio there of to equal 6 cups
- 3/4 tsp active dry yeast (or 1/2 tsp instant yeast)
- 2 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 3 1/2 cups warm water
- parchment (not crucial but helpful)
- dutch oven or covered deep casserole dish
- In a large bowl combine flour, yeast, and salt.
- Add warm (not hot) water, and stir to combine. The dough will be shaggy. If it is not shaggy and moist, you might need to add a bit more water.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap (or a dish towel) and place in a warm spot to rise.
- After about 3 hours, it will have risen and be dotted with bubbles (or the holes left by bubbles). At this point, divide your dough into two. Place one half in a storage container with the lid not quite closed all the way (or a smaller bowl with plastic wrap with a slit cut in the top), and pop it in the fridge.
- With the other half, you will form a loaf. Turn it onto a well floured surface and fold it on itself twice. Lay the dough seam side down on a piece of parchment and tuck in the edges to make a smooth loaf shape. (No parchment? Place it on a well-floured, lint-free towel.)
- Lightly flour the surface and cover with a clean, lint-free towel. Allow to rise (1 1/2 - 2 hours).
- About a 1/2 hour (or more) before your bread will be ready to bake, place your dutch oven in the oven and set it to 450 degrees F.
- When your loaf is ready to be baked, it will not spring right back when you poke it. At this point, cut a few slices across the top, pick up the loaf by the corners of the parchment and place the whole thing, paper and all, into the dutch oven, cover, and bake for 30 minutes. (No parchment? Skip the slits and carefully toss the bread into the dutch oven seam side up.)
- Remove the lid and bake for another 15-20 minutes.
- I guess you are supposed to let it cool before you dig in, let me know if you find the will power.
- For loaf number two, two-four days later, remove the dough from the fridge 2-3 hours before you'd like to bake it. Follow steps 5-10!