We seriously couldn’t believe how ludicrously easy this bread recipe from Mark Bittman is. And then, the bread turned out ridiculously beautiful AND good. It tastes a little bit like sourdough and a whole lot like delicious. It would be silly to buy bread ever again. If you start this Friday evening after work, you’ll have fresh, hot bread for Saturday dinner.
In a large bowl, mix 3 cups flour, 1/4 tsp instant yeast and 1 1/4 tsp salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water and stir. Then, just cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it somewhere warm and not drafty for at least 12 hours. 18 hours is ideal.
You’ll know the dough is ready when its risen and its surface has lots of bubbles. Flour your work surface and put the dough on it. Fold the dough over once or twice on itself, sprinkling lightly with more flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest 15 minutes.
For this next part, you can use either a cotton towel or a linen towel. Melanie used linen cloth at her bakery. Definitely do not use terry cloth, as the dough will stick. Coat your towel with flour or cornmeal and put the dough on top of it, seam side down. Top the dough with more flour (or cornmeal) and put another towel on top of the dough. Let it rise for about 2 hours, doubling in size. Alternatively, do like I did, and just put the dough back in your bowl and not bother with the cloths.
30 minutes before the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 400 and put a heavy 6-8 quart dutch oven in the oven to heat. When the dough’s ready, pull the pot from the oven, carefully slide/roll the dough into the pot, replace the lid, and put it in the oven. Put the lid on and bake 30 minutes. Then remove the lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until the loaf is golden. Enjoy!
If you want a recipe that takes even LESS time, try this one, also from the inimitable Mr. Bittman.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp instant yeast
- 1 1/4 tsps salt