Bread: the maker of sandwiches, the cornerstone of sustenance, the ultimate comfort food.
It’s reputation has been tarnished. It has fallen out of favour with the current trend of gluten phobias. Carb free diets (ahem, Mr. Atkins) are the root cause of this it seems and it is about time we all got back to basics. Not all bread is bad but the kind that comes sliced and is impossibly soft and impossibly white is probably bad for you.
Real bread on the other hand is harder to find unless you frequent farmers markets regularly or are lucky enough to have a bakery nearby (where did all the bakeries go?)
Something about baking bread instills fear in even the most hardened person. There is I suppose something a bit magical about mixing flour, water and yeast and creating a crusty fluffy loaf of bread. Alchemy, of sorts. My sister in law told me recently she was afraid she would die without having ever baked a loaf of bread. This got me thinking, what recipe could I give her that would be foolproof?
So no knead. Sounds too good to be true right?
I’ve seen this recipe floating around the internets for a few years but hadn’t yet tried it. So here we go.
You will need:
430g strong white flour
1g (1/4 tsp) yeast
12 fl. oz water
Mix these together, place dough into an oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Then do nothing for 12 to 24 hours. It’s up to you. This long slow ferment will only enhance the final product.
When you’re ready to make the bread, tip the well risen dough that will be full of air very gently onto a well floured surface. Fold the dough over itself once or twice then leave to rest for 15 mins. Shape the dough into a ball by pinching the corners together. Turn the ball over and place seam side down on a well floured cotton tea towel. Cover with another cotton tea towel and leave for 1 to 2 hours or until doubled in size. About 30 mins before your dough has proved turn the oven on to full heat (about 250 degrees) and place a large casserole dish with a lid into the oven to heat up. After 30 mins carefully place the dough into the now extremely hot casserole dish and return to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on and remove the lid and bake for another 10 minutes. The dough will be cooked when it sounds hollow when you knock on the base of it.
This bread is surprisingly good and requires very little hands on work. So go try it, you owe it to yourself!