Monday, April 9, 2012

Crusty bread in less than 2 hours

I love the no knead bread and make it occasionally, but I have to say remembering to start 12 hours before I want the bread is sometimes a challenge for me.  So I wanted to see if you could use the same cooking method using a regular dough and successfully get the wonderful crunchy crust.

And I am happy to say as you can see by the picture you can.  Any way this is how you can impress your family and friends with a crusty loaf of bread pretty much any time.

1 package of yeast (1 ounce)
1 1/2 cups of warm water
1 teaspoon of sugar
3 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of salt.

Mix the yeast with the water and sugar to ensure and leave for about 10 minutes to make sure it is live.  A slight froth should appear on the surface of the water.

Put the flour and salt into a large bowl and pour in the yeast and water.

Mix with a fork until the dough comes together, if you need to add a little more water.  If the dough is too sticky then add a little more flour, there really is no way to stipulate exactly the right quantities with bread, it is not that important, it is just important to get the correct texture.  It should be a soft dough but not sticky.  Then knead for a few minutes and return to the cleaned out bowl.

Cover with a clean tea towel and leave it to rise for about 1/2 an hour.

While the dough is rising put a cast iron pot with a lid in the oven and turn the oven to 500.  When the oven is hot and the dough is ready, take the pot out of the oven and turn the dough in to it.

Sprinkle a little flour on top and put the lid back on and return the pot to the hot oven.  Cook for 25 minutes.

After 25 minutes the crust will have formed and the bread will be a golden colour, put back in the oven for a further 15 minutes, and what will have formed is a wonderful moist bread with a dark crunchy crust.

It was a glorious day here in Vancouver, so I enjoyed a slice of this with my fridge soup sitting on my deck in the sun.

Spring has well and truly sprung and my thoughts are turning to lighter fresher foods, but I have to say a good crusty loaf goes with almost anything at any time of year, next experiment with wholewheat flour.

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