I was busy drawing this illustration, intending to share this bread recipe with you, when a fantastic edition of the The Food Programme came on the radio. It was so inspiring and perfect timing!
My brother shared this “No Knead Bread” recipe with me years ago, I rarely buy bread now, it just doesn’t taste of bread, unless it’s the really expensive stuff. So while I’m currently waiting for my first sourdough loaf to rise, this is my default bread recipe and it makes me wonder why anyone eats that tasteless supermarket sliced stuff…
What you need is :-
Strong Bread Flour (White is easiest but it’s nice to mix wholemeal, spelt or whatever you prefer), a teaspoon of Dried Yeast, Salt ( I LOVE salty bread but the amount you add is up to you, don’t miss it out altogether though!), Mixed Seeds ( optional but I use golden linseed, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds). Total cost of ingredients about £3 which will make several loaves.
In an ovenproof lidded pan ( like a “le Crueset” but any deep ovenproof casserole style pan, with a lid would work) measure 4 cups of flour, and all the other ingredients. Mix well and add approximately 2 cups of cold water to make a fairly loose batter/dough. Stir it all up, put the lid on and leave it overnight… or until you get home from work or climbing a mountain.
The next day the dough will have risen in the pan and bubbled up, doubling in size and smelling lovely and yeasty (sometimes if I leave it too long it flops back down again but it still works and seems to have even more flavour, a bit beery maybe).
Take a floured baking tray and tip everything out, adding a little more flour if it’s madly runny. You should be able to fold the dough over a few times to form a neat-ish ball on the tray. Leave this to double in size again while you wash the pan and put it in the oven to heat (I have a rubbish oven so I turn it up as hot as it will go which is about 250c).
When the dough has risen and the pan is really hot (this is vital as it stops the bread sticking) plop the mix into the pan, put the lid on and bake for roughly 20 minutes until it is browned and sounds hollow when tapped.
So, who needs an expensive bread maker?! The loaf will be deliciously crunchy on the outside but moist and yummy on the inside. It is now important to spread thickly with lashings of butter justifying it to yourself by remembering that the recipe has no other oils in it and is totally free of all the unnecessary crap they put in shop bought loaves. Butter and fresh warm bread…heaven.
I sometimes end up with a “hoof” of bread that hasn’t been eaten for some reason. Chop into small squares, put in a bowl with olive oil, salt and herbs and fry to make crispy croutons for soup…
Enjoy, and don’t blame me if you put on a few stone! I’ll let you know how I get on with the much more time consuming Sour Dough later.