No Work Bread

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This is a great bread recipe that requires little hands on time . . . hence the name: “no work bread.”

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While little work is involved, much foresight is required. Will you be needing bread tomorrow? Start this right now. It takes 5 minutes to get it going. Walk away and return in roughly 24 hours to bake!

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No Work Bread 

{makes 1 loaf}

[ingredients] 

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4 cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus more for dusting

scant 1/2 tsp instant yeast

2 tsp salt

2 cups water, at about 70 degrees F

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, optional 

cornmeal

[directions] 

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Mix. Combine the flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Add water and stir until blended; you’ll have a shaggy, sticky dough (add a little more water if it seems dry). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or put the olive oil in a second large bowl, transfer the dough to that, turn to coat with oil, and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for about 18 hours at about 70 F. The dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Rising time will be shorter at warmer temperatures, a bit longer if your kitchen is 60-65 F.

Rest. Lightly flour a work surface, remove the dough, and fold once or twice; it will be soft but, once sprinkled with flour, not terribly sticky. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for about 15 minutes.

Shape. Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking, gently and quickly shape the dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton (not terry cloth) towel with cornmeal or wheat bran (or use a silicone baking mat); put the dough seam side down on the towel and dust with more flour or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel (or plastic wrap) and let rise for about 2 hours. When it’s ready, the dough will be more than doubled in size and won’t spring back readily when poked with your finger.

Bake. At least a half hour before the dough is ready, heat the oven to 450 F. Put a 3-to-4-quart covered pot {with the cover} – it may be cast-iron, enamel, Pyrex, stone, or ceramic – in the oven as it heats. When the dough is ready, carefully remove the pot from the oven and turn the dough over into the pot, seam side up. {Slide your hand under the towel and just turn the dough over into the pot; it’s messy, and it probably won’t fall in artfully, but it will straighten out as it bakes.} Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for another 20-30 minutes, until the loaf is beautifully browned. {If at any point the dough starts to smell scorched, lower the heat a bit.} Remove the bread with a spatula or tongs and cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

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. . . or tear into that sucker as soon as you please like I did. Because who can resist warm, freshly baked bread that you’ve been dreaming about for 24 hours??! I mean C’mon people! I never wait! Perhaps that’s why my daughter hasn’t learned patience yet . . .  maybe I should re-think that . . .

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I got this recipe from my “How to Cook Everything” app that is just as awesome as it can be. Built in timers, easy navigation of the cookbook, integrated choppings lists, technique tips, great pictures. Just awesome, awesome, awesome. Check it out!

While munching on a buttered hunk of bread of course . . .

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One comment

  1. […] about 1 large 4 ounces provolone cheese, thinly sliced ⅛ teaspoon black pepper bread, chiabata or no-work bread  [directions]  _________________________ Prep. Slice peppers and onions. Heat 2 teaspoons oil […]

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