Bread recipe

If only I’d remembered to take my benadryl last night, I would have slept great, ’cause Dan turned off the AC! As it was, I woke up at 6:30, wide awake, but because the room was so nice and quiet I was able to go back to semi-sleep till after 8am!

Last week I got a book called “No Need to Knead” from the library and it taught me how to make fantastic Italian-style bread. You really and truly don’t need to knead if you make a nice wet dough and let it sit around for a while. And the bread has a fantastic texture, light and chewy with a perfect crumb and crust.

Here’s the basic idea, my own slight variation that creates a loaf just the right size for my family to eat in one day:

Take a cup and a half of warm water. Whisk in a package of yeast. Stir in almost three cups of flour and a teaspoon of salt. This will make a very sticky wet dough that will just barely want to creep away from the edges of the bowl and almost form a ball. It’s completely un-kneadable, so don’t even try. You don’t have to!

Now, cover the bowl with a plate and refrigerate overnight or leave it alone for an hour or two on the counter. With the fridge method, take the dough out in the morning and let it come to room temperature. Smack the dough with the back of a spoon till it deflates somewhat, then let it rise again. After the dough has again risen in its bowl for a while, pre-heat the oven to 500F and then pour the dough into some kind of pan (I use my smaller cast-iron skillet, greased). You don’t have to worry about forming the dough in any particular way, just glop it gently into your pan and pop it into the oven. Turn the oven down to 450F and bake until the bread smells heavenly. Sorry, I don’t know how long, maybe half an hour or so. But check it when it starts to smell really good. The crust should be golden brown. Take it out of the oven, turn it out of the pan, and let it cool before cutting. Don’t give in to temptation! You really do need to wait or it’ll be a gummy mess.

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I prefer the rise-on-the-counter method. I mix up the dough in the morning and bake it in the early afternoon. The fridge method lets the yeast develop a bit more of a tangy flavor. Try it both ways and see which you prefer!

I have baked a lot of bread in my life, but never never never have I made anything this good with so little work. It’s just as good as the fancy Italian bread from Trader Joe’s! You can learn lots more variations and techniques from the book, so run out and beg/borrow/buy a copy right now!

Category: Blog, Recipes 15 comments »

15 Responses to “Bread recipe”

  1. Dan

    You make a good bread! YUM!

  2. chris hughes

    We use a bread maker, and have baked at least one loaf a day with it for the last 4 years. In fact, we have had to replace some worn our components. The only downside is that shop-bought bread tastes bad by comparison, so you miss it when away from home. I do love making bread though – but it seems I can’t bake anything without my kids wanting to get involved – and they have no patience with waiting for stuff to rise.

  3. Kristin

    Ohhh, homemade bread. Sounds delicious!

  4. Kathy

    I am going to try this!

    I was on a bread-making kick a few months ago–I made challah and learned to do the six strand braid which makes it so pretty. And every time I made bread I thought of Sal, because we used to make bread all the time — she taught me the mechanics of the process. And oh, the delicious whole wheat bread we used to have! She was a very good cook back in the day!

  5. Kathy

    My dough is made, but I wouldn’t describe it as wet. I wonder if I accidentally added an extra cup of flour. (I don’t always keep my mind on what I’m doing . I stirred in the flour but at the end, in order to incorporate the last dry bit, I ended up kneading it in.

    Well, time will tell!

  6. Kara

    Hmm… I think that as long as it’s still wetter than normal dough you’ll probably be ok. And if it’s not, you can just knead it like usual and you’ll still end up with bread :) It seems to be hard to goof this bread up… I forgot to turn my oven down to 450F yesterday so I had to take it out WAY early to prevent the crust from burning, and it was still quite good, though a little doughier than I like it.

  7. Kathy

    Happily munching on it now. This is wonderful!!! Scott’s was in “wow…mmm….wow…mmmm” mode for several minutes!

  8. Ken

    The bread looks awesome! We used to use our bread maker a lot more, but have toned it down since (a) we’re both on a low-carb diet (Boooo!) and (b) Kenny is allergic to milk, which is in most bread recipes…except this one, which looks good!

  9. Margaret

    Just wanted to say thanks for posting this! I came across your blog through Librivox. I tried baking this bread tonight and it turned out wonderfully!!

  10. kara

    Oh, that’s great Margaret! Thanks for telling me :)

  11. Alison

    Hi Kara,

    I’ve found you via Librivox – which I love. Thank you !

    I like the sound of your bread recipe. I am in the UK so I want to check the yeast quantity. Are you using 7 grammes of dried yeast per 3 cups of flour ?

    Alison

  12. kara

    Hi Alison, yes, my unit converter says you need about 7 grams of yeast. Enjoy!

  13. Alison

    Thank you !

    I’ll give it a go at the weekend.

  14. Pam Fernicola

    What TYPE of yeast should I use?

    Thanks a MILLION,

    Pam

  15. kara

    Pam – I don’t think it matters very much. I bought a jar of yeast from the grocery store, but I’m sure the little packets would work too. Active, dry, I have no idea :)


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