This week is the week of me making things I have never made before. I have been wanting to make a bread for a while and of course I have seen the recipe for No Knead Bread, but I didn't have two days (well, 18 hours) to prepare for it. I got home from Disneyland the other day knowing I wanted to make this, but didn't really feel like starting bread at 11:00 at night. Then Mark Bittman posted this recipe that changed my life. That may be a slight exaggeration (I am known to exaggerate once in a while), but it was the perfect solution. As much as I enjoy kneading (releases the tension developed from dealing with annoying actors), this was a recipe with a minimum effort for maximum result. All it really involved was stirring the dough and folding it over after it sat out for 4 hours. It's a really sticky dough, so the folding over was actually a bit more involved than I thought I would be, but overall this is a really easy recipe for bread which is something I often find myself wanting, but not something that regularly appears on my grocery list. It was so good with a nice crusty outside and a soft, chewy inside. I can't go through an entire loaf of bread myself within a week so I froze the rest to use for a later time.
Faster No Knead Bread
3 cups bread flour (I used all-purpose with excellent results)
1 packet (1/4 ounce) instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Oil as needed
Combine flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups water and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest about 4 hours at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
Lightly oil a work surface and place dough on it; fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes more.
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 dough and put it into pot, seam side up. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.