Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Making your own bread is the big leagues. By which I mean it is one of those things that is easier than it seems, well worth the time spent, and just an awesome thing that will make you feel like you are the winner of Frontier House... despite the fact that there are no winners on PBS. Seriously, you will want to stalk down Laura Ingalls Wilder in her log cabin and flex your biceps, proudly displaying your perfect, golden loaf until she gives you maple candy or a yard of calico. Homemade bread is like that.
Seriously though, when I started making my own bread junior year of college it was a revelation. Oh, the toast! The sandwiches! The superiority to veggie corn dogs as a midnight snack! Now I am both more busy and more lazy, so I have fallen off the bandwagon.
I did start making the famous, super-hyped, MEGA-hyped no-knead bread earlier this spring. And it is awesome. And you can do it! Yes, you!
I mean, you can totally make your own sandwich bread no worries and it takes less time (white or wheat or HONEY OAT or wahhhh I want to make bread everyday) but this is the only way I have achieved "success" with a "European style loaf." So I guess it's as good a way to start as any.
What other sandwich breads have in "taking an afternoon" and "infinite customizability", this bread has in hands-off cool. This bread is like the James freakin' Dean of crusty boules. Two timings: takin' a day off or the workday warrior. Workday warrior timing is kinda intense, but do-able.
Weekend: late night
Weekday: when you get back from work
Throw 3 cups of flour, 1/4 tsp yeast (store the rest in the fridge) and 1 1/2 tsp salt in a bowl.
Mix with 1 1/2 cups water.
Mix, mix, mix, cover your bowl with saran wrap and go to bed.
12-18 hours later.....
Weekday: If you need to show up at work the next day, set your alarm for 2 hours before you normally get up. Sucks, right? But just think of the bread you'll have with dinner!
Weekend timing: Just get up.
Fold your puffy, bubbly dough over itself a couple times and gently roll it into a ball. Plop it onto a floured cloth or just a floured countertop or a floured bowl or whatever. Cover with a cloth and do something else for 2 hours. Like go back to sleep or watch cartoons.
Back? Good! Preheat the oven to 450 with an oven-proof pot or dutch oven or casserole dish in it. Ideally for half an hour, but it doesn't really matter. Gently maneuver the dough into the hot pot, put the lid on or fashion one out of tinfoil, let it bake for half an hour. Now take the lid off for another 15 minutes or so, until it's golden brown. Fly out the door while your bread cools, or just eat it while you continue to watch cartoons. Oh my god I can't wait to get home and eat this.