I have attempted to hone my bread baking skills lately, while at the same time attempting to limit an overabundance of carbs in my diet. Yes I am aware that makes no sense, except to say that I am going for quality over quantity. For me, there are no greater comfort foods than good bread, good fries and good pasta.
I have recently gotten some San Francisco sourdough starter and have learned about “feeding” it, and it has become my child so to speak. I set out yesterday with the full intention of making sourdough bread today. However, when I started looking at the instructions of how to properly activate starter that was in the fridge, and then feeding twice in 24 hours, and then resting the dough for another 5, I realised there was no way I would have a loaf in time for lunch today. I had however promised homemade bread, so I scoured the many many bread recipes in the house, the various cookbooks devoted to the subject and decided to try an amalgamation of no knead recipes I had. I also read somewhere that you could use all-purpose flour and that really intrigued me. To heck with the all the fancy labelled flours in my pantry, I grabbed my good old AP (unbleached) flour and gave it a whirl.
The mixing was easy, I started at 8 last night, stirred everything up, covered it and put it right by the radiator in the guest room. It was near a heat source for about 2 hours before the heat went off when I went to bed and then the heat came back on around 6, so the dough was near a heat source for another 3 hours. If you do decide to leave it in a cooler room, it will just mean that it will need to sit longer. It is fine for the dough to sit for 24 hours if you want to make it up one morning and bake it the following morning.
I only have 1 casserole dish, a la creuset casserole dish that appears to be an enamel cast iron job that weighs a ton, but you can use anything that can stand a hot oven. The inside of the lid says it is 4 1/2 US quarts. The bread absolutely did not stick to the casserole dish, I did not oil it at all and it came out quickly and cleanly when it was done.
I have a fan assisted oven so my bread was ready in about 30 minutes, but if you do not, it will take about 40-45 minutes to bake.
The result, I must say was possibly the best looking loaf of bread I had ever made, similar in shape to the lovely boule you find in France. It had a gloriously crusty exterior and a soft and chewy interior (similar to a sourdough consistency). This was also the best tasting loaf I have made yet and my husband ran back for extra helpings, so I feel I have achieved a great loaf with minimal effort, it must be said.
I am going to try a cinnamon pecan bread using the same recipe next, I will keep you posted. I am entering in this lovely to I am entering this into Javelin Warrior’s Made with Love Mondays challenge.
Gloriously easy crusty (no knead) bread recipe
|Prep time||18 hours|
|Cook time||45 minutes|
|Total time||18 hours, 45 minutes|
|Meal type||Bread, Breakfast, Lunch|
- 3 cups All purpose flour (preferably organic)
- 1 3/4 teaspoon Fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Instant yeast (preferably organic)
- 1 1/2 cup Water (room temperature)
|First put the flour in a large bowl (that will allow for expansion), then add salt on one side of the bowl and the yeast on the opposite side of the bowl. Whisk the yeast into the flour first and then whisk the salt in until well mixed.|
|Add the water a bit at a time while mixing the flour mixture together using your hand. The mixture will be sticky but not sloppy, so watch the dough as you mix in the water and ensure all flour is mixed in.|
|Cover the bowl with plastic wrap/cling film and a tea towel and leave to rest for approximately 12 hours (until it has at least doubled in size). You can leave this overnight.|
|When you are ready to bake your bread, preheat the oven to 230 C (or 210 fan assisted). When the oven has preheated, put your casserole pan in the oven, lid on, for 30 minutes with nothing inside (set your timer).|
|While the casserole dish is in the oven, turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and shape into a roundish loaf and cover in plastic wrap (ensuring the loaf is lightly covered in flour so that it does not stick to the plastic wrap. The dough will be a bit sticky and soft.|
|When the 30 minutes is up, take the casserole dish out of the oven, unwrap the dough and place the dough in the casserole dish. Put the lid back on and pop in the oven for 20-30 minutes. (20 for fan assisted, 30 for non).|
|Remove the lid from the casserole dish and pop back in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Again go for the lesser time for fan assisted. The finished loaf should be a lovely deep golden brown. Allow the bread to cool for about an hour on a wire rack and then eat!|