As the days shorten and the weather cools, my mind turns to baking–cookies, cakes, quick breads and, of course, yeast breads.
The easiest of the yeast breads, at least in my mind, is Jim Lahey’s “No Knead Bread” from his book, My Bread. Mix together four ingredients, let it sit for 12-18 hours, shape it, let it rise, then bake it. Easy peasy!
In allowing the dough to sit for a long period of time, it ferments, making its own “biga” or “starter,” so very little yeast is needed for this recipe. When the dough is ready it will look all bubbly, like this:
At this point, scrape the dough out of the bowl (I always use a glass bowl, but almost any bowl works.) and onto your floured work surface to shape into either a free-form loaf (as shown below) or a shape that fits into a bread pan.
Let it rise for 1-1 1/2 hours, then bake on the Bread setting of your Cuisinart CSO at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. The high heat and burst of steam at the beginning of the bake cycle gives the bread its outer crustiness. Additional baking time will give your loaf a darker color, if you prefer.
So give bread baking a try-its easier than you think! Bon Appetit!
- 3 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour
- ½ teaspoon yeast
- 1½ teaspoon salt
- 1⅓ cups warm water, more if you like moister bread
- Mix all four ingredients in a mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm area overnight, about 12-18 hours. You need do nothing further at this point.
- Use a bowl scraper (plastic half-moon shaped plastic paddle) or spatula to scrape the dough onto a flour-dusted surface and shape into your desired shape. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for about an hour or so. make sure the towel is dusted with flour or cornmeal so it does not stick to the rising bread.
- When the dough has doubled in size, carefully put the shaped dough into a bread pan or on a baking sheet that has been dused with cornmeal or flour to prevent the loaf from sticking when baked. Using your bowl scraper makes this job easier as the dough will be very soft. Bake in the CSO on the Bread setting, at 450 degrees F for 20 minutes, adding 5 minutes at a time if you like a darker crust on your bread.
- Remove the bread from the bread pan or baking sheet and let cool on a wire rack to cool completely. You will be tempted to cut into that hot loaf, but be strong. Let it cool completely before you cut into it.
- The wetter the dough, the more holes you will note in the finished product, so you can control the amount of water you use depending on the type of loaf you like. Feel free to experiment with the amount of water, which will give you different results in your bread, but you will always use at least 1⅓ cups of water.