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This winter is cold: -20 F today. When you step outside, you never hear anybody say, "But it's a dry cold!" Think about it. We rationalize warm temperatures, but not for the cold. Honestly, the humidity makes no difference. If it's cold, it is cold. So, in order to stay warm, I decided to embark on a several month quest to make the perfect home baked bread. But remember, I'm lazy and wanted bakery quality bread with no mess, no fuss, and no effort. What I learned, was...well, humidity matters. Of course it does.

My quest lead me to the "bread in a pot" or "no knead bread" craze that happened a few years ago. The craze was started after an adapted recipe from Jim Lahey of the Sullivan Street Bakery was written about in the New York times. I also found wisdom from the Kitchn and the Beekman Boys recipes. All of these sources confirmed that more water and humidity during baking make for one of the easiest and tastiest bread making methods. 

So, after weeks of tweaking, I came up with my own unique recipe that works for my family of 4. The method is pretty simple. Mix up the dough. Let it rise. Turn it out to rise a second time. Quickly form into a round shape. Throw it in a very hot pot. Bake in the oven. Consume! We go through a loaf every two days, so I can do up a batch every other day and for a few cents a day we get to enjoy bakery quality bread. This is the basic white bread recipe. You will be able to find other recipes on this site in the weeks to come.

BASIC WHITE BREAD IN A POT
Ingredients
  • 4 cups all purpose flour (I've used Dakota Maid, King Arthur, and Ultra Grain)
  • 1/2 tsp quick rise yeast
  • 1 3/4 tsp table salt
  • 2 cups and 2 tablespoons tepid water
Preparation
  1. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Add water and mix with rubber spatula until well combined and lumpy. It should be wet in appearance, but not glossy. Adjust water as needed depending on type of flour. 
  2. Spray oil the dough and inside of bowl. Turn over in the bowl and spray the opposite side too. Cover in plastic wrap and towels. Place in warm (about 72-76 degrees F) to rise about 6-8 hours. I put my oven on 180 and place the bowl on top of the stove.
  3. After rising, turn out onto a lightly oiled counter. Fold over twice. cover in plastic and a towel. Let rise an additional 1-2 hours. Turn oven on to 450 degrees F with Dutch oven and lid inside to heat it up.
  4. After second rise, turn dough out onto a lightly floured counter top and quickly shape into a boule or round flat ball shape by gently pulling the dough under. You will need to flour your hands a bit. Just use enough flour to make the dough less sticky. Do not over flour as you need the dough to remain wet. 
  5. Remove the Dutch oven from the oven and remove the lid. Plop the dough in the hot dutch oven seam side down. Cover and return to oven and bake for 30 minutes covered. This is the steam heat that creates the crunchy outer crust. Then remove the cover and bake an additional 15 minutes uncovered.
  6. Remove loaf from Dutch oven and let cool lightly covered with a flour sack towel.
  7. Consume with loads of butter!


Servings
About 12-15 servings.

Nutrition
About 120 calories per slice before the butter and depending on slice size! lol
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Links to our other no knead breads in a pot:
Light Rye