The Best Bread Yet

Updated on February 27, 2018
Fredrickvanek profile image

Among his varied interests, Mr. Vanek is an aspiring gourmet and cook.

Source

I came up with this version by combining two sources. The first is from “The French Farmhouse Cookbook,” by Susan Herrman Loomis. The second is from a N.Y. Times article from 11/8/2006 by Mark Bittman about a no-knead bread made by “The Sullivan street bakery” in N.Y.C.

I'm satisfied that for myself; I've finally found it. So now, bearing in mind “de gustibus non est disputandum” (loosely: "matters of taste shouldn't be argued"), I humbly offer it.

This is an extremely easy bread to make. It is done in two basic parts. The first day the ingredients are combined. Then after letting it rise overnight, it is baked. The total amount of labor involved is about 5 minutes for the first part and 5 minutes for the second. That doesn't count keeping an eye on the baking.

Equiptment

  • A 2-quart bowl
  • A 2-quart cast-iron pot
  • A wire rack big enough for the pot
  • A wicker basket about 10 inches in diameter and 3 or 4 inches tall (Called banneton in French)
  • 2 linen dish towels (NOT cotton)
  • A spatula

Ingredients

  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking yeast, (Fleischman's Active Dry Yeast)
  • 2 cups cool water

The Method:

I usually start around noon.

  1. Mix together all the dry ingredients thoroughly (about 2 minutes).
  2. Add 2 cups of water. Mix thoroughly. (About another 2 minutes.)
  3. Cover the bowl and place in a warm spot till the next morning.
  4. The next morning, while waiting for the coffee water to boil, I spread one of the linen towels in the wicker basket, and dust the bottom with either flour, or sesame seeds, or cornmeal.

The dough has been rising overnight.
The dough has been rising overnight. | Source
Well-risen dough.
Well-risen dough. | Source
The Banneton is dusted with flour, or sesame seeds, or cornmeal, or poppy seeds.
The Banneton is dusted with flour, or sesame seeds, or cornmeal, or poppy seeds. | Source
Dust the bread board with about a 1/4 cup of flour.
Dust the bread board with about a 1/4 cup of flour. | Source
Then using the spatula, I scoop the dough out onto the floured board. Using the spatula again, I flip the dough over a few times till it's coated with flour.
Then using the spatula, I scoop the dough out onto the floured board. Using the spatula again, I flip the dough over a few times till it's coated with flour. | Source
Then Knead the dough briefly, maybe 10 times and put it in the wicker basket on the linen towel. Cover with the other towel and put it aside for about an hour.
Then Knead the dough briefly, maybe 10 times and put it in the wicker basket on the linen towel. Cover with the other towel and put it aside for about an hour. | Source

Cooking the Bread

  1. A half an hour into that hour turn on the oven, placing the iron pot and lid in the oven.
  2. Set the temperature to 450 degrees.
  3. After the hour is up, turn the heat own to 425 degrees.
  4. Take the pot out of the oven, place it on the wire rack and place the lid nearby safely.
  5. (Please note: All ovens vary somewhat. Use these times and temperatures as an initial guide until you see what works best for you and your oven.)

Source
Source
 Take the basket with the dough, remove the top cloth and dump the dough right into the pot. Put the lid on quickly and put back into the oven
Take the basket with the dough, remove the top cloth and dump the dough right into the pot. Put the lid on quickly and put back into the oven | Source
  1. In a conventional oven, I put a cookie sheet on the rack under the pot to keep the bottom from getting over-done. Bake for one hour. OR
  2. In a convection oven bake at 425 for 45 minutes. (Cookie sheet not needed).
  3. After it's done, dump the bread out onto the wire rack, turn it right-side up, and let it cool thoroughly before slicing. (Otherwise it doesn’t slice well.)

Source
Or Enjoy it in large chunks with some cheeses, fruit, and a good wine
Or Enjoy it in large chunks with some cheeses, fruit, and a good wine | Source

Faux Rye Bread

For a delicious variation: Add 2 tablespoons of Caraway seeds to the dry ingredients and mix in thoroughly.

It makes a far better 'Rye' Bread than any commercially available Rye Bread!

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