No-Knead Bread, Part 1 (Preparation.)

Mariposa and 1605 combined forces to make no-knead bread, because Nagi has a nice Dutch oven that is perfect for that. Using a very simple recipe from Sullivan Street Bakery, via the New York Times, we first made the dough, which requires about 12-18 hours to rise before further handling.

Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour (used white flour, but next time might experiment with whole wheat flour)
Recipe calls for ¼ teaspoon “instant” yeast, but we had “active dry” yeast (and we used very slightly more than ¼ teaspoon of the active dry yeast)
1¼ teaspoons salt (we used sea salt)
1 5/8 cups water

Optional: cornmeal or wheat bran as needed

Preparation:
Because we used active dry yeast, first we had to proof the yeast (i.e., hydrate and activate it) for 10-15 minutes. Following the instructions on the yeast package, that involved adding the 1/4 teaspoon of active dry yeast to the 1 5/8 cups of water that the recipe called for (after the water was heated to about 110-115 degrees Fahrenheit; any hotter would kill the yeast), plus about 1/8 teaspoon of sugar. I think it worked, because smelling the yeast + water concoction reminded me of being at a brewery or a bakery.

Next, in a large, non-reactive bowl, we combined all the ingredients (flour, yeast and salt), as well as the water. Because we had to proof the yeast using water, we didn’t have to add any additional water. We then stirred until the ingredients blended, resulting in a shaggy and sticky dough. Covering the bowl with plastic wrap, we proceeded to let it rest for at least 12 hours – preferably 18 hours – at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees. Tomorrow, we get to see the results (and hopefully eat some yummy homemade bread)…

Referenced Sources:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/081mrex.html
http://www.wildyeastblog.com/2008/01/12/instant-yeast/#yeast-conversions
http://www.thefreshloaf.com/faqs/baking/yeast

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