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Bread. Just… tasty bread.
Everyone is making bread nowadays. Social media is just dough folding, followed by carving wheat stalks, followed by more dough folding.
What these millions of posts don’t talk about is, well, the bread. The smell of bread. The taste of bread. The closing-your-eyes-and-imaging-gramma’s-house-with-each-bite bread. This is what I’m all about.
Gramma didn’t measure a darn thing. It’s surprising I even learned how to cook watching her. I think she owned measuring cups? Not sure. Just some flour and sugar scoops and a random soup spoon was all she needed. Oh, and a coffee cup.
She didn’t use the nifty no-knead recipe from the great Mark Bittman that everyone seems so keen on. She kneaded a solid yet soft dough til it looked just right, then set it to rise in the giant green tupperware bowl that was most likely used to bathe the newest grandbaby earlier that day. BTW, Bittman’s ‘How to Cook Everything’ is a wonderful primer for home chefs. He has a great line of cookbooks, including ‘Bittman Bread’, where you’ll find the OG recipe for no-knead bread.
Dinner rolls were the best bread Gramma made. A cold stick of butter was rubbed along the tops when they came out of the hotbox and we could hardly contains ourselves while they cooled enough to eat. Mmmm, so soft and slightly sweet with a nice crust. We’re not making those today, sorry.
Hearth Bread Recipe
2 c warmish water
1/4 t yeast
2.5 t kosher salt
4 c bread flour
I start this bread in the morning of Day 1. We don’t eat it until at LEAST the evening of Day 2. Be patient, it’s well worth it.
Mix all the ingredients until shaggy. It’ll be ugly but don’t worry. All the lil flour bits will hydrate and be just fine. You can scale the recipe pretty easily, no need to really change the yeast amount unless you’re doubling it.
Cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel, then rest for at least 8 hours. Once the jiggly stage is reached you can start turning the dough. Now, you don’t have to turn the dough… but it’ll make a better bread. If you forget to turn it… you’ll be fine.
Simply wet your hands, lift the dough from underneath in the middle, and fold one end under. Repeat with the opposite end, then rotate and fold those two ends. You can do this a few times with each session.
Cover, let rest a couple hours, then repeat. It’ll be fine overnight without the turning.
Around 1 pm on Day 2, fold one last time and either lightly flour an oversized parchment and place seem side down, or lightly flour the top of the bread and place upside down in a banneton. Cover with a tea towel to rest.
After 30 minutes, throw a lidded cast iron or clay (if heat tested to 450) dutch oven or similar cookware in the hotbox and set to 450. Yes, 450. Let heat for 45 minutes or more.
Flip the banneton onto an oversized parchment and score the bread with a lame or sharp knife to about 1/2 inch deep. One long one will do, but I find a cross is best for a round loaf. Feel free to be artsy- wheat stalks are pretty, just don’t overdo it. I tried for a palm leaf here.. turned out ok.
Place your bread into the dutch over and replace the lid. Bake for 25 minutes, then remove the lid and bake another 25 or so. The edges will be a lil dark, that’s fine! I use a convection oven so grand total is about 45 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely before digging in.
Here’s lil homemade butter and crunchy salad we had for dinner. I didn’t save you any.