No-knead Bread, No Kidding?? No Kidding!!

Those of you who have been with our WGG Family for some time know that I am not a baker. I can cook up a storm by tastebud, but breads and bakery items are not my specialty. Nope, not at all. In fact, if you come to dinner at our house I will most likely put out a knock out fruit and cheese selection for dessert. It is often said that cooking is an art and baking is a science. Cooking suits my personality...I can measure with my eyes, my hands and my tastebuds. In baking, you need to break out the measuring cups and sometimes even....the scale!

I want to be a better baker. I really do. So when my friend Richard told me he's been baking bread just about every day and that this one recipe would guarantee me a perfectly beautiful and delectable loaf of bread..a boule, no less, I was game.

The recipe for No-Knead bread has been catapulted to fame by Mark Bittman, American food writer columnist at the New York Times where he writes his weekly Food and Dining column, The Minimalist. He is the author of many successful cookbooks, including; The Minimalist Cooks Dinner, The Minimalist Cooks at Home and The Minimalist Entertains. This recipe was created by Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery, in New York City. When he invited Mr. Bittman to come to a bread baking class teaching a "truly minimalist breadmaking technique that allows people to make excellent bread at home with very little effort", Mark Bittman the Minimalist was intrigued. Check out this link to the video on The New York Times website that shows Jim Lahey teaching Mark Bittman the technique.

Here is the recipe with pictures of my first endeavor. Truly, you will have produced the most amazing bread that is more than worthy of a place at your table. The only "equipment" you need is a heavy 6-8 quart covered pot. I use the Le Cruset my Mom bought me. It's round and it works perfectly. As the recipe says, you can use Pyrex, Cast Iron, Enamel or Ceramic. It needs to have a lid. I taught the kids to make this, and their results are just as impressive. You're going to love this!

Speedy No-Knead Bread

3 cups bread flour
1 packet ( 1/4 ounce) instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Oil as needed.

1. Combine flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups water and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest about 4 hours at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Lightly oil a work surface and place dough on it; fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes more.

3. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6-to-8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under dough and put it into pot, seam side up. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.

4. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.