This bread is very easy and requires virtually no kneading, I love it! The above picture shows 2 loaves I made for Christmas Eve dinner. I made two separate recipes, I did not double the recipe. I find when I double baking recipes, they tend to not turn out as well.
3 cups (400 grams) bread or all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon instant or other active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups (350 grams) cool water (55-65F)
additional flour for dusting
1. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, table salt, sugar and yeast. Add the water and using a wooden spoon, mix until you have a wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough is more than doubled in size, 10-18 hours(24 if you have a cold home). I put the bowl in my oven(turned off) to keep at a steady temperature. This is a perfect dough to make before you go to bed and then bake off the next day.
2. When the first rise is complete, lay a piece of parchment paper on the counter and generously dust with flour, so when you turn the dough onto it, it doesn’t stick. Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece. Fold the dough over itself two or three times and gently shape it into a somewhat flattened ball, use lots of flour. Please don’t worry about the amount of flour that might build up, it just adds character to the loaf when it has finished baking. During this second rise, let rise for 1-2 hours on well floured parchment paper, in draft free area, covered with a tea towel.
3. Half an hour before the end of the second rise, heat the oven to 475 degree F. You can bake the bread in a enamelled cast iron pot with a lid or just on a backing sheet. If you are using the pot, please heat it up without the lid in the oven at this time also. The nice thing about using the pot is that when you put the dough in the heated pot and put the lid on, it sort of creates an oven within an oven, holding the steam in and helps create a beautiful crispy crust.
4. The dough is finished it’s second rising when it can hold an impression of your finger and does not spring back. Now carefully slid the ball of dough that has finished it’s second rising, off the parchment paper into the very hot pot and quickly but carefully put the lid on the pot. Bake for about 20 minutes with the lid on and then take the lid off and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until brown and crusty. If you are using a baking sheet, just lay the dough and the parchment paper right on the baking sheet, set in the 475 degree F oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, depending on your oven. It’s finished when it is brown and crusty.
5. Bring pot out of oven, carefully take bread out of pot and cool for a few minutes on a rack, then slice open and spread some butter, yum! If on baking sheet, remove from the baking sheet and place on wire rack for a few minutes to cool.
I look forward to hearing about your experience and answering any questions you might have.