Friday, December 7, 2012

New York Times No Knead Artisan Bread from Jim Lahey

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This is the easiest, most amazing bread, anybody can make this.  The crust is so crisp, because you bake it in cast iron or a Le Creuset dutch oven.  I’ve tried for years to get a crackle crust at home, putting bowls of water in the oven to steam, throwing ice cubes on the oven floor, but I’ve never had results like this.  The only difference I make in the original recipe is that I use an entire package of rapid rise yeast, and I add 3 TABLESPOONS of sugar, because our family likes a sweet bread.  I always use warmer water from the tap, not room temperature or cold water.

This picture is my bread after it came out of the oven.  Doesn’t it look amazing?  It was just fantastic!

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast – I just use a whole package of Rapid Rise Yeast
1 1/2 cups water
*I add 3 Tablespoons of sugar

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast.  Add water and mix until a shaggy mixture forms.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 - 18 hours.  Overnight works great.  Heat oven to 450 degrees.  When the oven has reached 450 degrees place a cast iron pot with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball.  Cover with plastic wrap and let set while the pot is heating.  Remove hot pot from the oven and drop in the dough.  Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes.  Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.

Note:  There are two ways people shape the dough and let it rest.  Some recipes tell you to shape your dough, cover it and leave it for 2 hours before you bake it.  The recipe above jus has you let it rest and rise for 30 minutes – I couldn’t tell any difference in letting it rise for 2 hours, both ways gave great results.

I’m including two videos, the original video, and the second, upated one, that makes bread in just a few hours.  He bakes his at 500 degrees, I wouldn’t do that, as I  think his crust looks a little too brown.  I bake mine at 450 in my le creuset dutch oven with the lid on for 30 minutes, take it off and bake it an additional 15 minutes and it comes out perfectly.  Don’t oil your pan, this bread does NOT stick.

And now for his updated video that lets you bake bread the same day.

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