Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I made that

I haven't made bread in a really long time, mostly because it takes forever, it rarely turns out well, and I have 2 kids. Did I mention that it takes forever?

Niki sent me an article and recipe months ago about how to make a tasty loaf, the kind with a thick, crunchy crust and chewy middle. You know, the kind you get in France. Or the kind you pay half an arm for here at some pseudo-French bakery and try to eat every last bit of it in one day before it turns into a giant crouton. What, you don't do that? Come live in Tucson for awhile and you'll learn to.

Anyway, this recipe. It has four (4!) ingredients, which you probably already have on hand. You mix it for about 15 seconds and then you let it sit. Then your turn it over a couple of times, let it sit some more and then bake it. Seriously. No kneading. No! kneading!

So, rush to your kitchen and make sure you have these staples on hand:
3 c. flour (any kind will do, but I used all-purpose white)
1/4 t. yeast
1 1/4 t. salt
1 1/2 c. water (the recipe in the video calls for 1 1/2, the written recipe calls for 1 5/8. I have only tried the 1 1/2 c. thus far)

Now for the complicated part:
  • Wash your hands so you can mix everything with your fingers. It's more fun that way, and also anyone who walks into the room will think you're working harder than you are.
  • Put all the dry ingredients (all 3 of them) in a bowl and give them a run-through with your fingers.
  • Pour the water in.
  • Remove your rings unless you want to bake that kind of bread with a surprise ring inside.
  • Mix the dough for about 15 seconds, or until everything looks...mixed.
  • Cover it.
  • Let it rise for 12-18 hours (recommend 18, maybe longer - my bread was flatter than I had hoped for).
  • Sprinkle a cutting board with flour and pour the batter onto it.
  • Fold it over a couple of times.
  • Return the dough to the bowl and let it rise another 2 hours. Or do what the recipe says and let it rise on a towel (maybe that's why mine didn't rise as much as I thought it would?).
  • Heat your oven and a covered baking dish to 500*.
  • Pour the batter into the hot dish and bake, covered, for 30 minutes (I baked it for 25).
  • Take the lid off and bake for another 15-30 minutes, or until it looks so good you want to burn your fingers off in an attempt to eat a chunk straight out of the dish.
  • Patience! Let it cool before you slice into it and shove large pieces slathered in butter and raspberry jam into your mouth. Whuh?.

Update: I made my second loaf, this time with 2c white flour and 1c wheat, and with a heaping 1/4t of yeast. I think I like the rise I got this time better since I used more yeast. And the wheat aspect is good as well. Also, I baked it at 500* for 25 minutes, which was better than 515* for the same amount of time. My 'lid off' time is significanly lower than theirs: I baked this loaf for 10 minutes with the cover off, as opposed to 15-30 minutes that they recommended. I plan to add fresh rosemary to the next batch, per Niki's advice.


Niki said...

I find that if you bake it in an oblong dish rather than a round dish, you get a fatter loaf. Never get a really high loaf, but WHO CARES, IT's SOOOO EASY AND YUMMY!
SUPER forgiving recipe. Try it with different flours and mix ins. My favorite is 1.5 cp white flour, 1 cp wheat, and .5 cp rye (too much rye and it won't rise well) with fresh rosemary mixed in. YUMMY! All wheat works, but gives a thicker loaf.
Make it for a dinner party. Everyone will think you're an awesome baker. Hee hee hee. Silly them.

Andrea & Ben said...

Looks yummy! I may have to try that :0)

Jen said...

Niki - good ideas. I particularly like the thought of rosemary in my yummy bread.

I'm making a loaf right now: 2c white flour, 1c wheat. I don't care for rye, so I'll skip that. I did round my 1/4t of yeast on this loaf. I'll let you know how this one turns out.

What other mix-ins have you tried? What is good? What is not?

Anonymous said...

Bummer - do I have to wash my hands first? :-D Smart ass Camille

Katie said...

Sounds AWESOME! I am thinking you should brush the top with olive oil and sprinkle coarse sea salt on it. I'm salivating! I am going to try it!

Jen said...

Katie - Ooooooh, that sounds so good! Brilliant idea!

Carrie said...

My timing cracks me up as Mykenzie and I made homemade bread today. However, ours was more complicated - a little bit. We made Sheila's recipe for 2 loaves of whole wheat bread and it actually only uses whole wheat flour (no white) and no sugar (only honey). It turned out great. I will have to try this recipe, too. I love the idea of the olive oil and sea salt, but I'd use my homemade garlic oil and kosher salt. I'd probably try mixing some finely minced garlic in the bread, too and see if it impacts the yeast at all; it usually doesn't in my other recipes.