Happy Sunday everyone! I decided to take a small break from travel stories and tell you about my weekend. Actually, it’s hard to really be honest about being happy on Sundays because I hate Sundays. Sundays means that you have to go work another forty hours before you get to sleep in again. I love sleeping in. The weekends are great for lots of doing nothings.
The weekends give me time to do what I want.
Like cleaning out the fridge.
When I moved into my apartment in the city, I took many things with me that actually belonged to my parents. One of these things is a giant bag of dry active yeast. This bag has been patiently waiting in the back of the fridge for months trying to get noticed. And when finally last night I tossed out a can of strawberry preserves, there it was, a bag of yeast staring back at me.
I mostly haven’t used yeast much in baking. It has that “it’s actually alive” factor that needs specific care and attention to when baking. Using yeast can also depreciate a baker’s ego because you can totally screw it up pretty easily. I attempted to make homemade breadsticks (one of my guilty pleasure foods) from scratch on Friday night.
I will admit to a defeat on the breadsticks.
However, I also wanted to experiment with baking a bread. The recipe seemed simple enough since it was a no knead bread, and required very little handling of the dough after letting it sit and rise overnight.
In the morning, you can throw it in a hot ceramic dish or quart pan, score the top, and let it bake for a good hour or so. And afterwards you get this. Crusty, flaky crust. I love crusty rustic bread.
I also like taking the loaf and knocking on it with my hands like I would knock on a door. The deep muffled sound is foodgasmic. When sliced, you get nice and chewy insides.
I win this one, yeast. Victory at last.
Want the recipe? check it. or read below:
Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising
- 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
- ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
- 1¼ teaspoons salt
- Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.
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 at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. 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 about 15 minutes.
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 cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran 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.
4. 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 towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.