Sunday, May 4, 2008
Yes, that's right, of all time! This is hands down the easiest, most satisfying and completely delicious bread that has ever been passed on our table. It is simple enough for a child to do it, it has a crisp but chewy crust and a light, airy, tender middle. I can guarantee you it will be on my table at least once a week. As soon as you try it you will find room on yours too, I promise! This is a variation of the famous New York Times No Knead Bread. I love the garlic and rosemary combo, but you can certainly have other spices serve as switch hitters or leave them out entirely.
P.S. This is a double recipe. Make one loaf, and if you don't devour this in its entirety that day, save the rest in a covered container in the fridge. The flavor will only get better.
Rustic Miraculous Bread
1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
3 cups slightly warm water
6 cups unbleached bread flour (I like King Arthur)
1 1/2 Tbsp. sea salt
1/4 cup of garlic rosemary seasoning (no that's not a typo - this amount is still surprising subtle)
Add water to yeast in a LARGE bowl and let sit 2 minutes. Add other ingredients and stir to combine until it forms a shaggy mess. It will not resemble dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit on the counter for 18-20 hours.
After a good night's sleep, it should be wet and bubbly. On a floured surface, dump half the dough out. Using wet (not floured) hands (so you don't mess with the flour to water ratio), form the dough into a ball, stretching the sides back and folding them into the middle to form a taut skin. Let sit in a floured (clean!) dishtowel over a bowl for 2 hours, or until it has puffed up proudly to double its previous size.
Preheat the oven with an enameled cast iron dutch oven inside of it at 450 for 30 minutes. Could you use another type of pan? Sure, but you won't get the rustic shape and your crust will suffer. The heavier, the better and the lid really makes a difference.
Slap the dough right into the roasting hot dutch oven, lid it up and bake for 30 minutes. After that, remove the lid and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the internal temp reads 210 degrees F. Let cool on a baking rack and serve warm with good butter (I like a garlic parmesan compound butter).