Saturday, April 25, 2009

5 Minute No Knead Artisan Bread

It takes more than 5 minutes for the bread to be completely finished. We are only counting the minutes of actual work. The rest of the time is waiting.

Five-Minute Artisan Bread

From Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day:
The Discovery that Revolutionizes Home Baking
by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois
(Thomas Dunne Books, 2007). Copyright 2007 by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois

Serves 4 (Joan makes 3 round loaves out of this)
Note: This recipe must be prepared in advance.
* 1-1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (about 1-1/2 packets)
* 1-1/2 tablespoons kosher salt (Joan uses regular Morton's iodized salt)
* 6-1/2 cups unbleached flour, plus extra for dusting dough (Joan uses about 5 cups or so of flour)
* Cornmeal

In a large plastic resealable container, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm (about 100 degrees) water. Using a large spoon, stir in flour, mixing until mixture is uniformly moist with no dry patches. Do not knead. Dough will be wet and loose enough to conform to shape of plastic container. Cover, but not with an airtight lid.

Let dough rise at room temperature, until dough begins to flatten on top or collapse, at least 2 hours and up to 5 hours.

(At this point, dough can be refrigerated up to 2 weeks; refrigerated dough is easier to work with than room-temperature dough, so the authors recommend that first-time bakers refrigerate dough overnight or at least 3 hours.)

When ready to bake, sprinkle cornmeal on a pizza peel. Joan just sprinkled corn meal on her iron skillets or sometimes she uses a cookie sheet. Place a broiler pan on bottom rack of oven. (joan placed a large iron skillet. You could use a 9" by 13" cake pan, too.) Place baking stone on middle rack and preheat oven to 450 degrees, preheating baking stone for at least 20 minutes. (Maybe eliminate this step...I broke a baking stone doing this.)

Sprinkle a little flour on dough and on your hands. Pull dough up and, using a serrated knife, cut off a grapefruit-size piece (about 1 pound). Working for 30 to 60 seconds (and adding flour as needed to prevent dough from sticking to hands; most dusting flour will fall off, it's not intended to be incorporated into dough), turn dough in hands, gently stretching surface of dough, rotating ball a quarter-turn as you go, creating a rounded top and a bunched bottom.

Place shaped dough on prepared pizza peel (or prepared baking sheet , iron skillet, etc.) and let rest, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough or refrigerate it in lidded container. (Even one day's storage improves flavor and texture of bread.

Dough can also be frozen in 1-pound portions in airtight containers and defrosted overnight in refrigerator prior to baking day.) Dust dough with flour.
Using a serrated knife, slash top of dough in three parallel, 1/4-inch deep cuts (or in a tic-tac-toe pattern). Slide dough onto preheated baking stone. (Don't need to do this if you are using a metal baking sheet).
Pour 1 cup hot tap water into broiler pan and quickly close oven door to trap steam. I used more water than this and also sprayed water into the oven several times (Using my handly squirt bottle.)

Bake until crust is well-browned and firm to the touch, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven to a wire rack and cool completely.