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Bread Whore

Breads

I’ve just eaten my third loaf of no knead bread in  something under 2 weeks….
okay, it’s more like eight days…
But, I’m a bread whore…. it’s what I do.

No Knead breads? You’re right… they’re nothing new. All are based (or out-right stolen) from Jim Lahey’s four ingredient procedure. You can find his original recipe and procedures for it HERE.

But, this is my show and you know I just can’t leave something alone.
The real appeal of this type of bread is that you create a stupid simple, quality loaf with essentially ZERO effort. The secret is the long, slow fermentation and controlled heat, which results in an artisan style loaf that could grace any starred restaurant’s table. The crust is divine and the body has just the perfect chew and crumb.

Although, to be honest, I find the resulting bread a little salty… which really is okay – especially if you’re going to slather it in butter – but I thought if I could add a little sweetness, it might be enough to offset it some.

And as luck would have it, there were little tubs of mixed dried cherries, cranberries and golden raisins at the market the other day.
Perfect.

I will tell you – other than supreme deliciousness, adding the fruit creates another bonus. The dried fruit gives the long fermenting yeast something else to feed on, so the second rise is almost on steroids. The dough tripled in size in the second go around, and on the parchment after forming… and the finished loaf was twice as large as the normal no-knead loaf.

Okay.. the bread.
1. To be all that with full disclosure, I’ve just used all purpose flour. In the past I’ve made it with  high gluten flour, bread flour, mixtures of whole wheat and plain – and regular old all purpose flour works the best. It’s the day-long fermentation that makes it unctuous, not the wheat – so don’t fret about what you use.

2. Like I said, I’ve used a readied mix of dried fruit for mine but any combination will work. Use something you like to eat.

3. The whole “flour your hands and work quickly” thing irked the crap out of me, so I came up with a better process… and it uses self rising flour. The SR changes the outer crust a bit, but creates a crispier – crunchier bite for your enjoyment.

Bread Whore – Dutch Oven Bread
Makes 1 Large Loaf
Ingredients
3 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Package Yeast (1/4 Teaspoon)
1 1/4 Teaspoons Salt
1 1/2 Cups Very Warm Water
2/3 Cup Dried Fruit (once again, I’ve used cherries, cranberries and sultanas)
1/2 Cup Warm Water
1/4 Cup Self Rising Flour

The Other Stuff:
Dutch Oven with Lid
Large Mixing Bowl
Plastic Wrap
Parchment Paper

The day before:

In the large bowl mix the flour, yeast and 1 1/2 cups of warm water
Add the salt and mix well
Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warmish place for 8 hours

On Baking Day:

Steep the dried fruit in the remaining warm water for 30 minutes; drain and blot dry on a paper towel
Remove the wrap from the bowl and add the  fruit

The mix will look more like a sponge than something to bake at this point
Stir the fruit into the dough mix, recover, and set to rise for 2 hours

Place the dutch oven and lid in the oven and Preheat the oven to 450
Uncover the dough and dump 1/4 cup of SR Flour over the top
Tucking the sides under, pinch and seal the bottom to create a very tender ball

Place the formed ball on parchment paper, cover with a towel and allow to rise for 1 hour
Carefully remove the dutch oven and lid from the oven, tip the risen dough ball into the pot and place the lid

Place back in the oven and bake at 450 for 30 minutes
Remove the lid and bake another 15 minutes (or until the loaf is nicely browned and it makes a sexy “Thunka-Thunka” when you wrap it with your knuckle)

Remove the pot from the oven, tip out the loaf onto a rack and cool completely before slicing

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2 thoughts on “Bread Whore”

  1. I think this is bread I could actually make … if I had a Dutch oven, which I don't. I do have a well-seasoned cast-iron frying pan that might do the job, though … hmmm …

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