For those of you loyal and devoted friends of this blog, I want you to know I’m equally horrified that this will be my first post of May. Between getting sick for a week and just living life, I really got distracted. I also didn’t bake all that much outside of my class. So now I’m trying to play catch-up!
This bread recipe was sent to my by my teacher after we’d started working with yeast doughs in class. That class was my first experience with yeast, and it wasn’t so bad. I don’t know why I was so afraid to work with it, but it probably had something to do with all these steps I didn’t understand, like how long to knead, what the hell is proofing, who has all this time?
I’m posting a link to the video she sent, which contains the recipe and how-to. Click on THIS LINK, which will take you to the article, scroll down a smidge – and under multimedia you’ll see the video. (**Update, it seems for some reason that now you have to be an NYT member to view the article. I swear I didn’t need to yesterday. I’ve included the recipe and directions in this post now as well, but if you are able to you should just watch the vid for fun.**)
The concept is pretty cool. With yeast breads you have to mix the yeast with warm water to activate it, then knead the bread so it develops gluten, then let it rest (proof) a bit before baking. With this bread recipe, you throw everything into a bowl together, stir it around so it’s mixed, and instead of kneading to activate the yeast you leave it all to do its thing in a covered bowl for at least 12 hours.
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp instant yeast
- 1.5 cups warm water
Mix the dry ingredients together, you can just use your fingertips to spread everything around. Add the water and again, using your fingers, mix everything until it just comes together. Let it sit in a larger bowl for at least 12 hours, covered with plastic wrap.
When ready to bake, heat your oven to 500 and throw your dutch oven in there with the lid on. You want it to be hot even before you add in the bread. Now, take the dough and fold it over to help punch it down slightly. At this point, you can add any toppings you might want, some extra flour or seeds maybe, by scattering them on a kitchen towel and putting the dough on top of them. Then, open the oven, remove the lid to your pot, and kind of throw the dough in there, seam-side down, if you can. Bake for about 30 minutes covered, and then another 20 uncovered so the steam can escape.
Be extremely careful with all of this, these things will get ridiculously hot! And then, as tempting as fresh-baked bread might be, let it rest for a bit so it can cool down and form a crust.
It made such a great basic bread, and it’s pretty painless. Here’s my journey in pictures, hope you have equal luck!
Adding yeast to dry ingredients:
Mixed dry ingredients with water:
Let it rise for about 13 hours (would have done longer but I had to go to work!) I didn’t take pictures of the folding part, but just take a flap from each of the four sides (ha) of the dough and fold it in towards the center. That’s all, you don’t have to press it in to make it stick or anything, you’re just releasing any excess air:
Fresh baked bread (I made 2 mini-loaves which I baked separately one after the other, I adjusted the baking times slightly):
And here’s a blurry picture of what it looked like all sliced up… yummm:
A couple of notes on this recipe… Make sure your dutch oven is safe up to extreme temperatures, I don’t think mine really should have been in the oven over 450 degrees. It was too hot for my oven mitts and also some of the enamel seemed to have chipped off. Also, make sure you have the appropriate handle for the lid (I did not, but I ordered the oven safe replacement handle for next time.) I think I’ll have to look into a different kind of vessel for next time as I don’t want to replace the dutch oven I have; those can get pricey!
Hopefully this recipe can help ease you into bread making if you had hesitations like I did. Enjoy!