Monday, January 17, 2011

Best Fresh Baked Bread Ever!

I'm sure that it's been blogged about a million times but today is my turn. I've been meaning to try this out for the longest time so since I had the day off in honor of Martin Luther King I decided to baked fresh bread. But not just any recipe - I wanted to follow the recipe developed by Jim Lahey from the Sullivan St. Bakery. When Mark Bittman the author of the "Minimalist" column, which runs weekly in the Dining section of The New York Times first wrote about Jim's recipe he said - "The loaf is incredible, a fine bakery quality, European style boule that is produced more easily than any other technique that I've used - and it will blow your mind."
That's all it took to peak my interest. My love for bread is a real problem. Could there be anything better than fresh bread and a good olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping? I could very well love bread as much as sex!

For an author biography, beautiful photos from the book, and recipes, click here.

Inspired by the ancient art of Italian bread making, Jim Lahey developed artisanal bread that is entirely his own and soon can be yours. It takes only a pot to create what Mark Bittman calls “the best no-work bread you have ever made.” The method, which captured worldwide attention following Mark's article, is practically foolproof and allows the home baker to let the dough rise slowly, without any kneading or fuss, and then bake it in a heavy, preheated pot.

Here is a copy of the recipe as it appeared in the New York Times in November 2006. The pictures are one's that I took as I gave the recipe a try for the first time.

Recipe: No-Knead Bread

Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery

Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting

¼ teaspoon instant yeast

1¼ teaspoons salt

Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

Since the recipe above first appeared Jim has released a book called - My Bread. The recipe I used was slightly different than the one above but basically they are the same. You really should give it a try - the bread is delicious! It's hard flakey crust and chewy on the inside. There are several varioants of the bread which I can't wait to try! I wish I could let you try it - it's so good!

Later -



  1. Wow - that looks awesome - thanks for sharing! I baked bread a few times and its usually good - alot of work, but good! I hate kneading the flour - it never gets the shape I need.

    I have to try this some day - thanks for the tips!

  2. The freshly baked bread is a real joy for the palate, but its fragrance in the air it is more enjoyable!

  3. Looks yummy: Next time you are here Dad expects a loaf!