A friend sent me a link to an article from the New York Times about a no-knead bread that a 4 year old can make that is as good or better than bread you buy from a bakery. I had to try it. I didn't use any of our own wheat. I followed the recipe exactly - well, almost exactly. It's baked in a preheated heavy pan with a lid. The moisture stays inside the pan to create the crispy crust. For those of you who would like to try it, here's the recipe.
Recipe: No-Knead Bread
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.
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 warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
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 towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. 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-quart 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 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.
My results? I think amazing. When I took it out of the oven it continued to crackle for another 5 or 10 minutes. The crust is thin and crisp and the inside is full of holes and so soft. I used King Arthur's bread flour. Today I'm making another loaf with 50% bread flour and 50% of our own whole wheat. I never go this high on the percentage of whole wheat so it will be interesting to see how it turns out.
Guess what's for dinner. Thanks Jerry.