Monday, October 20, 2008

Home Made, No Knead Artisan Bread Takes the Bite Out of Sky Rocketing Food Costs

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Monday Morning Blog


Bread shouldn't cost $5.00 or more a loaf. It just shouldn't.

Get your food budget under control and enjoy crusty, homemade artisan bread with this super simple recipe. Costs about 65 cents to make.

No special equipment or bread making experience needed.


Time Is On Your Side

Time, not effort, is what turns flour, water and salt into crusty, artisan bread. Nature does the work. You get the credit.

Just five minutes of your time is all it takes. No kneading. No kidding.


No Knead, Crusty Sour Dough Bread
Got gourmet pals coming for Sunday brunch? Start the dough Friday night. Bake it Sunday morning.

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Makes one loaf
Pan size: A seasoned, cast iron pot with lid that's 8 inches round X 4 inches deep works well but any similarly sized, heavy, heat safe pot with a lid will work. Make sure the pot and lid handles can take the heat of the oven.
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3 cups all purpose flour (bread flour not recommended)
1/4 teaspoon dried yeast
2 1/4 teaspoons Kosher salt (or 1 3/4 teaspoons regular salt)
1 3/4 cups warm tap water (about 100 degrees - see tip below)
2 teaspoons regular or quick cooking grits or polenta (instant not recommended)

In a large bowl, mix flour, yeast and salt. Stir in water (just use a spoon) mixing only enough to combine. Mixture will be a sticky batter. Cover bowl (a plate works well). Put bowl out of the way (where it won't get bumped or jostled) in a warmish, room temperature place for 24 hours.

Next day, stir dough and fold it over itself once in the bowl. Replace cover and put out of the way for another 18-24 hours. (The longer, the better.)

After second rising, you're ready to bake. Position over rack so bread will bake in center. Place empty pot and lid separately into cold oven. Do not cover pot. Set oven temperature to 450 degrees. Let pot and lid preheat along with the oven.

When oven is pre-heated, carefully remove pot and lid placing on a heat safe work area. A well seasoned, cast iron pot will not need greasing. For other pots, lightly mist the inside bottom with cooking spray. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of grits or polenta over the bottom of heated pan.

Gently and without stirring, quickly pour dough all at once into center of hot pan. Try not to disturb dough more than necessary. Use a rubber or plastic scraper to guide dough into pot.

Don't fuss with dough or try to smooth out dough. The loaf should look free form and ragged-y.

Immediately sprinkle remaining 1 teaspoon grits or polenta over top of dough and cover with hot lid. Carefully place hot pot back into preheated oven.

Bake (covered) 30 minutes. Open oven. Remove cover without removing pan from oven. Continue baking (uncovered) until loaf is nicely browned - about 15 minutes more.

Remove pot from oven and immediately tip to remove bread onto a cooling rack. (Bread will easily fall out of a well seasoned pot. An unseasoned pot may require coaxing.) Cool bread completely (top side up) before cutting. Store uncovered (even after cutting) or in a paper bag to preserve crispness.

Karla's tip:
No thermometer to test the temperature of the water? Use your finger.

Here's how: Measure the water then stick in your finger to a dept of one inch. If you can leave your finger in the water to a slow count of 5 and it feels comfortably warm, it's the right temperature. If you have to remove your finger, it's too hot.


Rosemary Sour Dough Bread
Crush 2 teaspoons dried rosemary between the palms of your hands and add to flour mixture before adding the water. Continue with recipe.






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