Finally I nailed the yeast monster. Yay!!! I have been wanting to bake the artisan bread for so long but I was scared of the complex and long proofing procedures that go into baking this wonderful crusty bread. Especially, when here we don’t have the luxury of those strong bread flours. All we get is the all purpose or plain flour, as we know it more commonly.
The fear of whether the gluten will develop or not. Will the dough be elastic enough or not? Will it rise or not? These were the challenges, which had to be won over. I had tried baking breads before with fresh yeast as the dry yeast never worked for me until I baked this easy recipe from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day! This one recipe is so simple and quick to follow, that it literally takes no more than 5 minutes a day to bake it. I am completely smitten by the way, how these magicians, Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François, have made this complex recipe so easy that you can have fresh bread whenever you want it and just by spending only five minutes a day.
The sceret behind this no knead crusty bread is the pre-mixed, pre-proofed and high moisture dough, which can be kept in the fridge for maximum of two weeks. And the recipe is good enough to yield 4 medium sized loaves. So you can bake fresh bread, whenever you want, once you have the dough ready in your fridge. And on the bonus side, you get the aroma of freshly baked bread wafting through the entire house, which is both therapeutic and awesome at the same time.
All you have to do is to mix the dough, let it rise for two hours and let it refrigerate for 24 hours and then shape it in loaf and finally bake. So simple, isn’t it? You just have to try it to believe it.
3 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 tbsp granulated/active dry yeast
1 tbsp salt
6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour + more for dusting
cornmeal for dusting
- In a large container, mix the water and yeast. Add in the flour and salt all at once.
- Stir it until all of the flour is incorporated into the dough, it will be a wet rough dough.
- Put the lid on the container, but do not snap it shut. Let the gases from the yeast to escape.
- Allow the dough to sit at room temperature for about 2 hours to rise.
- At this stage, dough will not occupy most of the container but after 2 hours, it will pretty much fill the container. Do not punch the dough!!!
- It will settle down on it’s own. Now refrigerate the dough covered with lid for 24 hours.
- Once ready to bake, preheat the oven at 230 degree Celsius.
- Sprinkle dry flour on top of dough. Snip off the dough taking 1/4th of it. You’ll notice that dough has attained enough elasticity. While snipping off, if the dough breaks at once, add some more water on top and put it back in the fridge until all the water gets absorbed.
- Roll the dough into a ball and let it rest on the work surface, dusted with flour, for 60 minutes at least.
- On a baking sheet, sprinkle enough cornmeal on the baking sheet, so that the dough doesn’t stick to the sheet.
- Sprinkle dry flour on top of loaf and cut the loaf with 1/4 inch slashes using a serrated knife.
- Place the baking sheet on middle rack of the oven.
- Now place a baking pan on lower rack of the oven and add fill it with boiling water and shut the oven door immediately, in order to trap the steam inside which will help in browning and making a chewy crust.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, until it becomes golden in color.
- Allow the loaf to cool completely, before it can be sliced. Otherwise, the bread won’t cut nice.