Confession: I hadn’t baked a loaf (or boule) of bread since quitting my last restaurant job. It won’t happen again.
Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Bread
(adapted from The Minimalist)
Makes 1 boule.
3 c. bread flour
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. yeast
1 1/3 c. cool water
flour, cornmeal, or wheat bran for dusting
The hardest part of making this bread the timing, so I’ve included my timetable for reference.
(3 p.m.) Mix the flour, salt, and yeast together in a large bowl. Add the water and mix just until combined, about 30 seconds. The dough will be sticky, shaggy. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature (70ºF is ideal) for 12 (good) to 18 hours (better).
(9 a.m.) The next day, lightly flour a surface and fold the now bubbly dough over on itself a few times. Loosely cover and let rest for 15 minutes. Using as little flour as possible, gently shape the dough into a ball.
Dust a towel with a generous amount of flour, cornmeal, or bran and place the dough on it seam side down. Dust on top and cover with another towel. Let it rise again for 2 hours. The dough should hold the impression when you poke it.
(10:30 a.m.) An hour and a half into the second rise, preheat the oven to 450ºF and place a 6-8 quart enamel, cast iron, or ceramic pot inside. When the dough is fully proofed, remove the pot from the oven.
(11:00 a.m.) Carefully place the dough in the pot, seam side up. Give it a little shake to spread it out. Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes.
(11:30 a.m.) Remove the lid and bake uncovered for another 15-30 minutes, until the bread has nicely browned.
(11:45 a.m.-12:00 p.m.) Carefully remove the bread from the pot and cool on a rack. Very important: let it cool completely before slicing, at least another hour. It’s still cooking on the inside and will taste gross and gummy.
To be continued once it’s sliced.