So. I’m a breadmaker, or rather, I fear not the whole yeasty/kneady/loafing thing, and I make all our bread. I *love* to knead, too. But I mentioned Jim Lahey’s bread a while back and, like most great ideas, his No-Knead Bread and variations have really caught on. I wish Jim well, really I do, but I found an even easier recipe that you guys should try.
Considering I have more time on my hands in the winter, you’d think shaving minutes off my plush schedule wouldn’t be a priority, but hey. It’s my duty to serve YOU, especially all of you who claim you’re too pressed for time to bake bread. This is very similar to the kneadless bread, but… you simply make a bunch of dough and leave it in the refrigerator (for up to 2 weeks) until you’re ready to bake some of it. And just like the kneadless recipe it’s not the best on the 2nd day, but because you’re making a lot of dough, it’s easily parceled out for smaller loaves. It does require a bit of a thaw before it goes in the oven (enabling its final rise), and it helps if you have a pizza stone (the underside of a cast-iron skillet also works) and a pizza peel (a lipless cornmeal-covered cookie sheet works too). The recipe suggests you leave the dough in a covered plastic bowl. We’re anti-plastic around here so ours lives in a glass bowl with a tightly-fitting plate atop of it.
This recipe works fairly well too to simply pull a hunk or two out to bake in the morning. I’ve rolled out cigar-sized pieces and covered them in cinnamon and sugar, and I’ve made a kind of English muffin with them too. Because the dough stays cold, it tends to use my whole-wheat flour to best advantage. So, well, give it a try! The weekend is coming, spring’s not here yet, and you should still have time!
The Master Recipe: The Boule (Artisan Free-Form Loaf) from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois
Makes 4 1-pound loaves
3 cups lukewarm water
1 1⁄2 tbsp granulated yeast (1 1⁄2 packets)
1 1⁄2 tbsp coarse kosher or sea salt
6 1⁄2 cups unsifted, unbleached, all-purpose white flour
Cornmeal for pizza peel