Last November, a wonderful friend taught me how to make this magical bread. It's crazy good, and super simple; it only requires four ingredients! We whipped up four loaves yesterday; they were scrumptious. Do yourself a favor and make some TONIGHT!
No Knead Crusty Peasant Bread
What you’ll need:
1 cast-iron pot which has a lid & can withstand 450 degrees
3 cups (13.5 ounces) unbleached bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast (more for a quicker rise)
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) tepid water
Whisk flour and salt together in a mixing bowl. Make a little well in the middle and put your yeast in center of it. *If you want to add cheese, nuts, dried fruit, etc., now is the time (a list of yummy options is at the bottom of this recipe)! Pour water directly over yeast. Stir mixture with a spatula or wooden spoon until a shaggy ball forms. No need to knead! Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest.
8-24 hours later
Place a sheet of parchment paper over a mixing bowl that is about the same size as the pot you’ll use to cook the bread. Spray the center of the parchment paper with a little cooking spray. Dump dough onto a heavily floured counter top. With floured hands shape the dough into a ball. It won’t cooperate but that’s ok. Just lift up the blob and transfer it to the prepared parchment paper. The dough and paper will sink into the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise while a cast iron pot preheats in the oven, at least 30 minutes but preferably 45 minutes to an hour.
Place a *3-quart enameled cast iron Dutch oven with a tight fitting lid into the oven and preheat to 450 degrees while the dough rises. Remove the pot from the oven and take of the lid. It will be crazy hot, so use a hot pad. DO NOT FORGET THAT THE LID IS 450 DEGREES. IF YOU DO YOU WILL BURN YOUR HAND. BADLY. AND YOU WILL HATE ME FOREVER AND YOU WILL HATE MAKING BREAD. Using parchment paper as a sling, lift the dough out of the bowl and gently place into the preheated pot, paper and all. The parchment paper will stick up all around the sides, but don't worry. Just put the lid on as tightly as possible and put the pot in the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 420 degrees and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and continue baking for 15 to 20 minutes or until the loaf is a deep golden brown. Dump the loaf out of the pan, place onto cooling rack. If you have enough self-control, let the loaf cool for 30 minutes before cutting. If the bottom of the loaf is too dark for your taste, reduce the oven temperature by 5 or 10 degrees and/or reduce baking time next time.
-zest of a lemon, 2 tbs chopped rosemary, ½ cup cubed cheese (gruyere, jarslberg, white cheddar & asiago work well)
-zest of an orange, ½ cup tart dried cherries, ½ cup roasted chopped hazelnuts, and ½ cup dark chocolate
-1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives, ½ cup cubed cheese, 2 tbs rosemary
-1/4 cup roasted hazelnuts, ¼ cup roasted slices almonds, ¼ cup white chocolate, ¼ cup dried cranberries or dates