Bread Baking (It’s Not As Hard As You Think)

If it’s one thing grocery stores are making a killing on it’s bread. It’s not just the specialty breads either! Even those $1 loaves of bread are still marked way up from what you’d spend making it at home.

Most people hear, “baking,” and think it’s nearly impossible and labor intensive to achieve just one nice loaf of bread. I’ll tell you, baking is not nearly as hard as you think it is!

Here’s a recipe I found on Pinterest from Anna’s Table that is so incredibly easy, even the most inexperienced break baker could start with it. Fair warning it does take quite a bit of time to make, but it’s rising-time not actual hands-on time.

Easy Rustic No-Knead Bread

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water

Start by adding the flour, yeast, and salt to a large bowl. Mix with your hands or a wooden spoon to combine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add the water right into the dry ingredients and begin pulling the dough together with a wooden spoon. Make sure the water is warm! It doesn’t have to be boiling or even hot, the yeast just likes a warm environment to grow. Just run your tap handles equally and that’ll give you the warm temperature the yeast wants.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This dough is very sticky and stringy! At this point, all I did was pull it into a ball with my hands (flour your hands so that the dough doesn’t stick to you) and form it into a loaf in the bottom of my bowl. Remember, this is a no-knead bread – the less you handle it the better!

 

Anna says to first cover it with plastic wrap, and then a towel. I don’t keep plastic wrap in the house because I never use it (and it’s more eco-friendly not to, right?). I just dampened a clean kitchen towel slightly and covered my bowl with it to keep my dough from drying out. Same effect as with plastic wrap! Then it’s just a waiting game – let the dough sit in a warm, dry place for 12-24 hours (I told you it takes some time).

 

I waited 24 hours and MAN did that dough get big and fluffy!

 

Again, this dough is sticky! Lightly flour a cutting board as well as the dough and your hands. Scoop the dough onto the cutting board and lightly pull it into a 10×10 circular shape.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OK, mine’s more of a square, but who cares?

Fold the sides into the center, then do the same with the top and bottom (think envelope!). Press slightly so that it sticks, but don’t over-work it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flour the top lightly then flip it over so that the folded side is on the bottom, cover with a towel, and let it rise a second time for 2 hours. It was easy for me to just leave it right on the cutting board for the second rise. That’s right, I don’t like dirtying more dishes than I have to.

 

After 2 hours, preheat your oven to 500, put all the racks on the lowest and second-lowest parts of your oven, and put whatever large baking vessel (with lid) you have on the rack second from the bottom while the oven heats up. Anna says to use a dutch oven to bake this bread. I don’t own a dutch oven, but I did experiment and try using one of my crock pots. Bad idea! The handle on my lid melted from the oven temperature (whoops). When I noticed my mistake, I went for a different dish. I have various circular Corningware casserole and souffle dishes, but they all have glass lids or no lids at all. The one I chose was about 6in wide and 3-3 1/2 in. tall. I don’t have a lid for this dish, so I used foil instead. If you’re doing the same, place the casserole with foil (empty) into the oven while it’s preheating.

 

When the oven’s heated, take the dish out, flour the top of the dough and place it folded sides up into your dish. The best way I found to do this (without burning myself) was to take the cutting board and scoop the dough into the hot dish so that it more or less fell in there itself. Place the top on and let it go for 30 minutes at 500.

 

Almost there! Leave the lid off, turn the oven down to 375, and let it go for another 30 minutes.

 

That is one beautiful loaf! Without having to spray the casserole, the loaf just lifts right out too. Take it out of the hot dish to let it cool without cooking any further.

Easy! The only hands-on time this bread required (baking time included) was about an hour and fifteen minutes. Since there’s no laborious kneading involved, it’s just a lot of waiting. Which, I don’t mind!

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