In the past few years, no knead bread recipes have been popping up all over the place. Why? Because the only thing more pleasing than the yeasty smell of freshly baked bread is that smug feel you get when you realize you've made it yourself-- and it wasn't as difficult as you'd thought. Dig into the trend by trying it out yourself. Using Jim Lahey's original recipe from the Sullivan Street Bakery, we've added our favorite little fruits-- California Ripe Olives-- to give your loaf a little extra something special. Here’s how:
Start with the equipment: You'll need a mixing bowl, wooden spoon, a spatula or bowl scraper, a tea towel and a 4.5-5.5 quart heavy ceramic pot with a fitted lid.
The ingredients are simple: 3 cups of bread flour, 1 1/4 teaspoons of kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon of active dry yeast, 1 1/2 cups of lukewarm water and some kind of mix-in to make your bread special, like a can of sliced California Ripe Olives for instance. You'll also want a little extra cornmeal or flour to dust your dough.
The process takes time, but little effort: Just stir together the dry ingredients in your mixing bowl. Add the water and California Ripe Olives and mix until it's sticky to the touch (you may need more or less water depending on the flour you use and the humidity when you bake). Cover and let this dough sit out at room temperature overnight until it has doubled in size.
Use that extra flour or cornmeal to dust a work surface and lift the entire dough out of the bowl in one piece using your hands, a spatula or bowl scraper and place it on the surface in a round ball, tucking the edges under as necessary. Now, heavily dust your tea towel (linen or cotton, not terry cloth) with flour and place it next to the dough. Then, transfer the dough onto the tea towel with the seam facing down. Once again, dust the dough with some more flour or cornmeal so that it isn't too sticky, then wrap the ends of the towel over the dough to cover it. After your dough sits at room temp for another hour or two, its baking time.
And finally, bake away: Be sure to preheat your oven, with your ceramic pot inside, to 475 degrees F about a half and hour before your dough is ready to bake. When it's ready, remove the pot from the oven-- using caution and pot holders-- and quickly invert the dough into the pot. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and continue baking until browned, but not burnt for another 15-30 minutes.
Transfer your beautiful loaf from the pot to the cooling rack using pot holders or a heat proof spatula and allow it to cool for about an hour before digging in.
Once you become and expert, play around with your own flavor combos including California Ripe Olives, cheeses, herbs and spices.