Tuesday, March 17, 2020

No-Knead Bread in a Dutch Oven

This fail-proof recipe is a direct knockoff of one published by Mark Bittman in the NY Times Cooking section. I assert that placing this useful recipe outside the NYT paywall is fair use, as justified by the present National Emergency. Follow this recipe and virtually anybody can bake a loaf of delicious bread from flour, yeast, water and salt.
3 cups (385 g) all-­purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1⁄4 t instant yeast
1-1⁄4 t salt
1-5/8 c (385 g) water
Cornmeal as needed  
Step 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 about 18 hours, at room temperature, about 70 degrees. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles.
Step 2 
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 15 minutes.
Step 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 plain cotton towel with flour or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour 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.
Step 4
At least a half-hour before dough is ready put a 6- to 8-quart covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in the oven and preheat to 450 ºF (230 ºC). When dough is ready, carefully remove HOT pot from oven. Remove the top towel, lift the dough from below the bottom towel and turn the dough into the pot, seam side up. Shake HOT pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and return to oven for 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is nicely browned. Cool on a rack. Yields a 1-1/2 lb (680 g) boule with a firm crust and a tender crumb.

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