How to: Easy Homemade Bread

I know gluten free eating is popular at the moment.  It is difficult for me to grasp why.  While there are eaters out there living with true gluten allergies and intolerances, the vast majority of people tolerate gluten just fine thank you very much.  Gluten is also found in a lot of foods.  A lot of yummy foods. One of them being bread.  Straight up wheat bread, with all the crustiness and satisfying glutinous chew.  I’ve tried many GF alternatives, but the fact is there are simply no options that turn my crank quite like wheat bread.

I am so excited to post this recipe even though it’s not an original.   Every single time I make this bread, it impresses the heck out of me and whoever else is eating savouring it.  I’ve made it 15 or 20 times since I discovered it and I still can’t believe how easy and delicious it is.  It tastes and looks like something you would pick up from an expensive artisan bakery.

This recipe comes courtesy of the brilliant Jim Lahey, who founded Sullivan Street Bakery in NYC.  It became famous when it was published in the New York Times by Mark Bittman (a food icon and personal hero of mine) a few years back.  On the short list for cookbooks I’d like to own are Jim Lahey’s books My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method and My Pizza: The Easy No-Knead Way to Make Spectacular Pizza at Home.  Sounds awesome right?

No Knead Bread

Serves one 1.5 lb loaf
Website Mark Bittman's adaptation of Jim Lahey's No Knead Bread

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 5/8 cup water ((plus or minus a few teaspoons))

Directions

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at room temperature
2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton dish towel with flour; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flourl. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-litre heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Some helpful tips:

I use my heavy enamelled cast iron dutch oven for this, but I have also made it in a simple white Corningware deep casserole dish (with a lid) and it turned out great.

I find that substituting up to 50% of the white flour with whole flour adds a nice flavour and keeps a good texture. I won’t lie though, I do prefer 100% white flour.

When my parents come to stay I always make a loaf or two.  My dad is obsessed with the toast it makes for breakfast the next day. It also makes killer french toast.

This isn’t really a tip, but when I made this to go with an elaborate and slightly gourmet’d-up Thanksgiving dinner for the family last year, my 4 and 6 year old nephews ate almost an entire loaf to themselves and declared it the best thing they ate all day.

I pass this recipe along to anyone who will listen.  Now, it’s your turn.

Erin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 thoughts on “How to: Easy Homemade Bread

  1. My man and I haven’t had great success with no-knead breads, so I’m very excited to try this recipe! And we **just** got a Le Creuset dutch oven, which seems perfect for this!

  2. I can’t understand the GF trend either when it’s not medically necessary. Weird. Plus I could never willingly give up bread. Your loaf is gorgeous!

  3. If you’ve never had digestive problems – then don’t judge people who give up gluten. How do you know ‘most people tolerate it well’? Most people don’t know until years after. If you can tolerate it then good for you. Enjoy. But don’t judge.

    • Thanks for your comment Vick. It’s estimated that about 1% of people in Canada are affected by Celiac Disease, which is a true gluten allergy. Gluten sensitivity, for which there is no diagnostic test available, is still being researched and the prevalence is not well known at this time.
      You make a good point however. The day I posted this entry, a colleague at work told me how much better she was feeling after cutting out most of the wheat in her diet. She felt happy, healthy and felt her choice was a sustainable one over the long term. As a food lover, I feel unnecessarily cutting out foods from one’s diet is a shame, but who am I to judge when it works for someone else?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.