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Weekend bread: The easiest way to bake bread at home

Baking bread at home is not as hard as you might think. It takes time and some practice.
Baking bread at home is not as hard as you might think. It takes time and some practice.
Hilary Cable
 

Ask your friends what “artisan bread” means and you’ll get dozens of answers. To me, it just means bread made at home that tastes fantastic. It has a big, coarse crumb (in plain English, that means it has holes inside), a chewy texture, a crackling blistered crust and a deep, yeasty flavor with a hint of tang.

The New York Times no-knead bread recipe makes a loaf just like that, and it really is as easy as the article says it is. Baker Jim Lahey says “I think a 4-year-old could master it,” and New York Times writer Mark Bittman says an ambitious 8-year-old could. All it takes is planning and one special tool: a covered cast iron or stoneware casserole to bake the slack, moist dough in.

The most important thing you need to consider with no-knead bread is time. It takes about 24 hours to create a loaf: 12 to 18 hours to ferment the dough and four to five hours to shape, rest and bake the loaf.
This translates into a weekend project that takes about 24 hours.

I mix the dough at 6 p.m. Friday night. The dough ferments in the den until noon Saturday. I shape the dough and give it a second rise and it goes into the oven about 3 p.m. At 4 p.m., the loaf comes out of the oven. At 4:01 p.m., I resist the urge to tear into the bread before it cools enough to slice it. At 5 p.m., it’s ready for dinner. In all this time, you’ve invested very little labor. Biology has done all the hard work for you. You’ve contributed patience and a hot oven.

Ready to start? Read the instructions through once and plan for artisan bread to go with Saturday dinner.
Jim Lahey’s Sullivan Street Bakery No-Knead Bread (via the New York Times)


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Comments

  • Erika - LA Cooking Examiner 4 years ago

    This is one of my favorite ways to bake bread. I love the fact that time does most of the hard work!

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