Easy Peasy Bread, for real.

This is one of those “No-Knead Breads.”

Since it’s Friday I thought a post on bread was just the ticket. You know, no meat and all.  Which, in my world means: bread.  Because bread is my go-to comfort food, forever and always.  C’mon, isn’t it yours? Isn’t it everyone’s? Even those of us who’ve gone gluten free….it’s the bread, man {tho this recipe is NOT gluten free, as you can see – I haven’t mastered that realm, I can’t make a dent in it.}.  Gotta figure it out.  So, I’ve been on the hunt for good bread recipes for years.  I’ve made many many different kinds of breads. I have my favorite go-to recipes for different ones: sandwich, wheat toast, yeast rolls, cinnamon rolls, etc.  I’ve even got some of these down pat.  But the ever elusive nirvana of bread is that classic crusty artisan loaf, right? Of course!  But those are usually only found in France or your local foodie bakery, staffed by terminally hip youngsters with cargos and piercings.  A far cry from the cluttered kitchen of this graying middle aged mom.

Now, here is where I shout, “Eureka! I’ve found it!” I found a worthwhile, true to claim “no knead bread!”  No knead! And it is! I mean, if  you want to get all super micro technical and such you could say that it does have some kneading in that  you squoosh it a bit in the second step.  Or that the initial stirring of ingredients is technically a kneading.  But, I would say you would be nitpicking.  And a party pooper.   And that just takes all the fun out the whole deal now doesn’t it?  Why yes, yes it does.

So, if you are the kind of someone who has been searching high and low, hither and yon, for that perfect loaf…take a look at this.  And yes, I’m nothing special. You can find this or close to it most anywhere online by googling the term “no knead bread.”  But this is the only one I’ve gotten to work just right, for me. I’ve tweaked it a tiny bit from a few different sources and from just hands on feel, timing, tasting.  And, disclaimer: every loaf is gonna be a bit different based on the conditions in your kitchen, ingredients, flour chosen, vagaries of timing ovens etc etc etc.  But, in my kitchen, with my hands, and my stuff…this is how I do it.  Maybe it will work in  yours too and make your life just a little more tasty and wonderful.  It brings smiles to everyone in my family.

Basic No Knead Bread

3 cups bread flour (I use King Arthur)

1 T Bread Enhancer/Vital Wheat Gluten (Again, I  use King Arthur brand)

1 TSP yeast (I use Red Star)

1.5 tsp salt

1.5 cups water, warm

1 tsp white vinegar (I use Lucini brand white wine  vinegar, bc I have it on hand: its great in oil/vin dressing)

So. Big bowl: put flour, gluten, yeast, salt.  Stir together.  Add on top: water, vinegar.  Stir together till dough comes together, mostly.  Might be a little raggedy.  Leave in bowl in a rough round shape (not pretty yet) and cover w/ plastic wrap stretch tightly.  Set aside in warm place: 4 hrs.

Now dough will have about doubled, roughly.  Put dough on floured counter, fold it over on self a few times and as you do sort of shape it into a round.  This takes about two minutes.  Easy.

Take a parchment sheet and put it in same bowl (yes, just on top of the flour/stirring remnant, it’s ok) and put newly shaped dough back in bowl on parchment.  Let sit aside to rise, covered loosely this time w/ plastic from before…sit out for 1.5-2 hours (whatever works w/ your schedule).

Towards end of rising turn oven on to 450.  Put a covered oven safe pot (I use this red one, above, my fav) in oven to get crazy  hot.  When dough rising is done, it’s doubled.  Lift parchment corners, and thus dough all of a piece, and transfer into crazy hot oven pot.  Put lid back on and put in oven for 40 mins.  Then take out and glory in the golden crusty loaf.  To double check if it’s really done you can check w/ an instant thermometer – 205 degrees is DONE!

Let cool until you can’t resist, then cut and enjoy.  You can vary it with add-ins.  Last night I added some fresh tiny chopped rosemary from the last remnants of my sad failure of a garden ..and then dipped into the classic olive oil and balsamic – heaven.

So, yeah, you have to think of it in the morning to get bread for dinner.  But it takes about 3-4 mins to stir up the batch…then I go to errands, laundry, blog, whatever.  Then I flip it a few times and resit it and go to the multi school kid pickup rounds.  Then I remember to turn on the oven and after a few homework pages or refereeing episodes, I transfer it to red pot and cook it up…threatening the misbehaving children that no bread is to be had for fussing kids.  Then they all sit prim and proper at dinner, every time.  Ahem. Of course they do…….

Anyhow, like I said. I’m not a chef, not by a long shot.  I’m a mom.  But this is how it works for me, consistently.  I”m loving it.  But, again, I have a weakness for bread and I’m no Julia Child so try at your own risk and/or go find a recipe that is better tailored to your household.  But bread…it’s what’s for dinner, or on the side, on a good night!  Carbs be damned.