5.16.2011

making bread*




i need to do a whole post on this bread recipe because of the questions and emails i got.  and i realized while going over the original recipe in the ny times, that i have a couple of shortcuts that make this insanely good and easy bread even easier.


so here is the original recipe

no knead bread

and this is how i make it, i stick to the recipe but skip the wrapping the dough in a towel part.  i'm sure there is a reason to do this but it's messy and it comes out just fine w/o that step.
so in the evening i combine...

 2 c whole wheat flour and 1 cup white flour (or any combo i feel like that = 3 c)
 1/4 t yeast
1 1/2 t real salt - not kosher
1 5/8 c water

i mix this up in a big bowl and put a towel over it and forget about it.



the next morning, after 15 hours or so i punch it down a couple of times and fold it over itself 3 or 4 times cover it with the towel again and let it rest another 2 hours.


1/2 hr before i'm going to bake it i put my baking dish (i use a le creuset casserole) in a 450 degree oven to heat.

after 1/2 hour i plop the mixture in, cover it and bake for 1/2 hr and then remove the lid and decide if it needs more baking by looking at the color.  sometimes it's done and sometimes it needs a couple more minutes.

that's it.  over the weekend we priced homemade artisan breads and they were $4-5 a loaf.

depending on where you get your ingredients this bread costs between 20-50 cents a loaf. 
plus you know exactly what's in it and it is so GOOD.


*no animals were harmed making this bread




43 comments:

  1. I have been making this loaf for a while now, I got the recipe from a blog and it is wonderful. Instead of a towel or plastic wrap to cover it, I use a shower cap that can be reused. I have tried it with cranberries and walnuts and raisins and cinnamon. I tried whole wheat but it was too heavy. I will try your version with 2/1 ratio of wheat flour/

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  2. Hi Janet, I also have used this recipe, and love it; however, I have the problem of the towel sticking to the loaf, and ending up with lots of work on my hands to clean it, otherwise I'd make it more often. I'm going to try the other methods, and see how it works! By the way, I've started a blog in order to better interact with the blog world. I've been meaning to write and let you know! I've already referenced you! thanks for your inspiration and support. Christina

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  3. I love baking bread too!
    There is nothing more homey than the art of kneeding, am I right!
    I simply am in love with your blog and have drooled over quite a few of your posts....including the one with the gorgeous bike sporting the same wicker basket I have on my bike! The flowers in the basket are so sweet and so are you!

    I am your newest follower!

    Do come by and visit with me sometime too....it would be so nice to share our creative worlds.

    Ciao Bella!



    CREATIVE CARMELINA

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  4. Yummmm. I think even I could do this one. I've baked bread before, but found it was too messy and time consuming. Do you think this would work as a pizza dough?

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  5. Oh I make all my own bread, you're right, there really us nothing like it.
    I love kneading dough, it's such an earthy feeling.

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  6. This seems pretty easy. I really should try it. I think I just might buy some flour next time I'm at the grocery store.

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  7. Thank you for the recipe. I'm going to try this.

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  8. I might just try this! My mouth is watering just looking at the picture you posted. My mom always made all our bread from scratch, right down to using a grinder to grind the wheat berries into flour. Making my own bread would definitely bring back memories!

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  9. Oooo, this looks delicious, and I'm all for shortcuts! Thanks for sharing! Stop by when you have a moment, I have some lovely floral photos!

    Have a great week!

    Mary

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  10. The bread looks great! I'll have to try it.

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  11. Ok, Janet, then I will try this recipe this coming weekend. Maybe you will make a bread maker out of me! First of all, pardon my ignorance, but I have two Le Cresuset pots--one I know is a dutch oven with a lid, and the other is an oval pot that has a lid with a chicken on top of it. In non-vegan days it was my "chicken roaster." Which one can I use? I had no idea a lid goes on a pot to bake a bread! :-) I don't even know for sure how to buy yeast, but I can ask at the store on that one. :-) All the recipes you've posted have been excellent--so, hey, here comes my first loaf of bread--at age 52!
    -Suzanne in Illinois

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  12. I may not know how to bake bread, but I know a typo when I see one...and I stand correcting...Le Creuset...not...Le Cresuset. Try pronouncing that slip of the fingers! :-)
    -Suzanne in Illinois

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  13. suzanne - use the round dutch oven. buy the little packets of quick rising yeast. they are in little yellow and red packets. you will only use 1/4 t per packet, so you'll get 4 loaves of bread out of just one packet. good luck!

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  14. Really? That simple and it's good?

    I will try, but soon, before the temperatures rise faster than the yeast.

    xo Jane

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  15. i make whole wheat sandwich bread but i have not tried the sour dough with the crisp crust. I was just saying telling my daughter that I wanted to figure that out this summer.

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  16. suzanne - i meant to say you will get 8 loaves per packet of yeast.

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  17. I've never, ever, ever had the slightest desire to make my own bread but this makes me want to try. Janet, you make me want to be a better person.

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  18. Hi, I make this bread all the time and have figured out some things that might be helpful to others.

    1. Don't buy yeast in packets; it's much cheaper to buy it in bulk. The jar (or large package decanted into an old jar) lasts a good long time--like several years--in the refrigerator.

    2. I don't use the towel either, because it really is a sticky nightmare. I let my dough rest on a silpat, because it just releases when I turn it over into the dutch oven to bake.

    3. I cover the rising dough with an upside down bowl, a bowl large enough that it doesn't touch the dough and thus avoids the sticky nightmare problem.

    4. You can make this bread with whole wheat flour: just stir in some gluten flour when you add the flour. One reason why whole wheat doesn't rise as high is because there's all this other STUFF in it besides gluten. So you can compensate by adding extra gluten yourself.

    This is a great recipe!!

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  19. ok, i'm doing this! looks fantastic, as all your other recipes do.
    xo

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  20. I agree with Steve. You elevate me darling. Elevated simplicity. I want to be less and more at the same time.

    I might make this. I guess I need a le creuset now (good excuse).

    xo Terri

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  21. Fantastic - thanks for clarification! Off to bake bread...

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  22. Hello Janet:
    We can appreciate that this is a simplified receipt but, for us, kitchen virgins, even this seems way out of our league. Apart from the 'punching it down' part which strikes us as a possibility and a good stress reliever at the same time.

    As you say, artisan breads, which we love [especially sourdough] are so expensive so, perhaps, we must don the pinafores and have a go!!

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  23. I'm trying this today! I had a couple of questions but they've been answered in the comments here already, so all that is left is to say Thanks!

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  24. Hi! I'm looking forward to trying this ww recipie--but is it really just 5/8 c water? Or is that 1 and 5/8 c? I saw the linked recipe uses the latter. Thanks in advance for the clarification. Love your blog!!

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  25. great blue heron - thanks for those tips. i esp like the one about the upside down bowl.

    ellen - thanks for pointing out my typo - i just fixed it!

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  26. I am going to make this with my children! I always thought bread was more complicated to make.

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  27. Beautiful! I'm going to have to try this!

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  28. Looks delicious - I never make bread but might have to give it a go.

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  29. I am going to try this! The asian salad was delicious. The dressing is fabulous.

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  30. This is a great recipe so have a go. My 9 year old thinks this is the best bread ever.
    I get round the nightmare sticky towel mess by making sure that the parts of the towel that touch the dough have been liberally dusted with flour first.

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  31. Janet,

    I'm with Urban Cottage...you're just making us better people one loaf at a time.

    xo annie

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  32. Oh this looks amazing Janet. Are you sure it is that easy ?? I may just give it a go too! Thanks so much . xx

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  33. I make the Cook's Illustrated version. Easy-peasy.
    ~skye

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  34. Do we have to use the Le Creuset dish -- because I don't own a lidded baking dish. Always had used a loaf pan for my bread.

    What options are there? Maybe place foil over the loaf pan?
    Sue

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  35. sue - i'm not sure foil over a loaf pan will work but you could try it. i would try to follow the original recipe as closely as possible for best results.

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  36. Hi janet, I am tryiing to figure out how much the electricity costs for baking the bread. Did you ever come up with a number? I can't read the counter, because I live in an appartment building and it is locked away. Maybe you could read the counter the next time you bake the bread?

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  37. I've just discovered your blog and been reading thru it like crazy. I love all you clothes and recipes but especially this bread....I love bread...will be baking it today-tomorrow! Thank you for sharing.

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  38. Hi! I also just discovered your blog and have been reading through the archives. Great writing and gorgeous pictures.

    I'm 38 weeks pregnant and in major nesting mode and I could not sleep last night so I got up and started making this bread at 4:30 this morning! Now I'm almost ready to put it in the oven and I can't wait to taste it.

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  39. Hi! I've been reading through your archives. I'm 38 weeks pregnant and in major nesting mode, and I couldn't sleep last night so I got up at 4:30 and started making this bread!

    Can't wait to taste it.

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  40. Janet, do you take the dough out of the bowl at all to work in more flour as called for in the recipe or do you just leave it really wet? Also, do you grease or dust your dutch oven with cornmeal or anything? Thanks, mine is currently rising and ready to bake in about an hour!

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  41. i do not take the dough out of the bowl. it rises in the same bowl i mix it in and then i cover it with another larger bowl to rise. and by really wet, i'm not sure how wet you are talking about. if you followed the directions then you should be ok. consider this your experiment loaf.:) i dust the bottom of the dutch oven with some flour. if the bread seems stuck when it first comes out of the oven just let it cool a bit and it will pop right out. good luck and please report back!

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    Replies
    1. The bread was absolutely delicious! My husband told me not to make it anymore because it was too addicting! I think perhaps I overproofed it and it was a little too wet as it did not hold any shape when I put it in the dutch oven - it spread and conformed to the pan and came out a bit flat. I'm going to let it rise a little slower and colder next time. I put it in the oven on the proof setting and I think it is a little too warm. It rose, but then actually deflated some. Anyhow, thanks so much for the recipe! I have really enjoyed all of the others you have posted as well and really enjoy your blog. Rindy

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    2. i think you are correct in not putting it in the oven to proof. i think the point of this recipe is for it to slow proof. try that next time! so glad you liked it. xo

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