Hot Crusty Bread Is Definitely The Stuff Of My Life
This is my version of the No Knead Bread that recently appeared in the New York Times and immediately became the biggest thing since, well, sliced bread. When I read the original article back in November, I knew I had to try baking it.
I made it for Thanksgiving dinner in my new Lodge Enamel Dutch Oven (which I then immediately washed out and cooked Thanksgiving dinner in—no it wasn't turkey), and it was delicious and beautiful. The crust was crisp, and the crumb was light (in a good way) and full of various-sized airholes.
But because I'm a firm believer that if you have either freezer space or friends you should never bake just one loaf of bread at a time, I experimented and learned that there is actually no need (ha ha) for the dutch oven.
The loaves you see here were baked directly on a hot baking stone and I did not find them any the worse for it. I did make minor changes to the recipe--mainly adding more salt and increasing the first rise to about 24 hours (because this time of year there is no place in The Shack that stays 70 degrees). I used Heartland Mill Organic Strong Bread Flour (which I buy in 50-pound sacks), simply adding more than called for if the dough was too sticky.
Doubling the recipe will give you two 1½-pound loaves, three 1-pound loaves, or four baby 12-ounce loaves. Each batch I've made has come out slightly different, but that, of course, is the beauty of handmade bread. Every loaf was scrumptious.
If you haven't already been bombarded by this bread, you can read lots more about it at this post on Lindy's delightful blog, Toast. And this post at The Unemployed Cook includes the entire original recipe as it appeared in the New York Times. If you'd like to read more about bread baking in general, I invite you to check out my Ten Tips For Better Bread.
2007 Update: I gave this bread an Italiano twist over at A Year In Bread—and made one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches I've ever had. Click here for the step by step recipe, which can also be used to make the "plain" version—simply omit the seasonings.
Click here if you'd like to read more about A Year In Bread, the joint blogging project between myself and two other passionate bread bakers. It's 12 months, 36 recipes, and more fun than should probably be allowed in the kitchen. Ready, breadie? Then come bake bread with us!
© 2006 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where Farmgirl Susan shares stories & photos of her crazy country life on 240 remote acres, and there are always at least four kinds of homemade bread in the freezer.