Happy Monday! We finally had a weekend at home with no plans and it was really nice. My husband added some new lighting to the garage and I cooked and watched movies. On Saturday I made a savory stew that I will share with you for Foodie Friday. I thought it needed a crusty bread to go with it, so I sorted through my recipes and found one that I had jotted down sometime and had only called it "Easy Bread, No Kneading" For years I have made my breads using a bread maker to knead the dough, then removing it and doing the shaping myself. My breadmaker died several months ago and I haven't replaced it. It has been quite some time since I made bread without the help of a machine. This recipe was so simple anyone can do it and the best part...it took very little effort.
Easy, No-Knead Bread
3 cups lukewarm water
2 envelopes yeast (not rapid rise)1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup rye flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
You will need to have out 2 baking sheets dusted with cornmeal to place the prepared loaves on to bake.
Mix the salt and yeast with the water in a large bowl.
The dough does rise, although not as much as my white bread usually does. The dough can now be used or refrigerated and used for a few days.
At this point, divide the dough into quarters. Dust each piece with flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around the bottom on all four sides. Do not cut the slits into the bread yet! The loaves are small enough that you can place two of them on a standard baking sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover once again with a towel and allow to rest for 45 minutes. While the dough is rising, heat the oven to 450 degrees and place an empty metal baking pan on the lowest rack in the oven. When the bread has rested 45 minutes and the oven is hot, sprinkle the loaf with flour and make a few 1/4 inch deep slashes on the top using a serated knife. Place the baking sheet into the oven. Pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the metal pan and close the oven and bake for about 35 minutes. The top should get a good hard crust and will be deeply browned. allow to cool on a cooling rack and brush off excess flour from the top of the loaf before slicing.
The bread turned out crusty on the outside and very tender on the inside. The four loaves are slightly larger than a "bread bowl" we often see used for soup. I may make it into 6 loaves next time and create my own bread bowls. I froze 2 loaves of the bread and I assume it will reheat well. This was so simple anyone can do it! It was also wonderful toasted for breakfast.
Note: My recipe said to put a casserole dish in the oven with the baking sheet and add hot tap water to it for when the bread was baking. I originally put in my Le Crueset casserole dish (which is good for 500 degrees) and added hot water to it when I was putting the bread in the oven. My Le Crueset immediately exploded. I have no idea why, it shouldn't have according to the information that comes with the pan. I then switched to another sided baking sheet and added the water to that. I don't want anyone else to lose a favorite pan, so I am recommending metal for the water.