This week I’ve been re-balancing my routine, and even though I’m not working a lot of hours at the moment, I feel so busy! I’ve been to the gym every day, gone on a long walk or two with the bean (aka the dog), plus my usual volunteering and buzzing about. I also need to get my passport renewed so I waltzed over to Chinatown for pictures.
This bread, and tonight’s dinner are comfort food. A broth-y soup, along with a crusty bread are a winning combination. The bread is a bit complicated, so we’ll start there. The soup recipe will come later on this week, but I’m already soaking the beans.
This bread recipe is one I’ve adapted from Flour, water, salt yeast: The fundamentals of artisan bread and pizza by Ken Forkish, and it isn’t a fermented dough. I’ll run a post or two on different kinds of shorter ferment based bread doughs, but true sourdough isn’t in the cards for now. My partner and I experimented with keeping a sourdough culture alive last year, and we made a lot of delicious bread, pancakes, waffles and muffins (you can pretty well throw it into anything). Still, it wasn’t enough to justify all that delicious rye flour on feedings. We fed once per week, so really, we should have been baking once a week to make it worthwhile. We let our little culture die. If we decide to run another sourdough project, you’ll be the first to know.
This bread doesn’t involve a pre-ferment and it’s similar to the No Knead Bread recipe made famous in the New York Times. It is a little more laborious, involving some folding. Still no kneading though! I’ve split the recipe to create only one loaf, baked in a 4qt Lodge Dutch oven.
Overnight White Bread
Makes: 1 loaf, in 4qt Dutch oven
500 g all-purpose flour
390 g water, 32-35C
11g fine sea salt
1/8 tsp instant dried yeast
Mix at 7PM, shape into loaves at 8AM, bake at 9:15AM. Bread will be ready at 10AM. Alternatively, bread can be proofed throughout the day, covered in a plastic bag in the fridge. Take it out while you preheat the oven in the evening.
- Combine the flour and water in a large mixing bowl. Mix by hand until just incorporated. Cover and let rest for 20-30 minutes.
- Sprinkle the salt and yeast over the top of the dough. Mix by hand, keeping your working hand wet so that the dough doesn’t stick: reach under the dough, and grab about 1/4 of it. Gently stretch it, and fold it over the top to the other side of the dough. Repeat this three more times, turning the bowl to get each ‘side’ of the dough. The salt and yeast should now be enclosed in the dough.
- Use the pincer method to fully mix in the ingredients. Continue until all the ingredients are fully integrated and the dough has some tension in it. Let the dough rest for a few minutes, then fold for another 30 seconds or until the dough tightens up. (Watch the video!) Cover the dough.
- The next step involves three ‘folds’ spread out over the next 90 minutes. I usually give it an initial 20 minutes to rest, then do the first fold. 30 minutes later, I do the second; waiting another 30, I do the last. Then the dough sits at room temperature overnight, covered with a damp towel.
- After 12-14 hours, the dough should be 2 1/2 – 3 times its original size. Line a bowl with a clean, lint free tea towel, and dust it with flour.
- Sprinkle some flour around the edge of the dough in the bowl. Using floured fingers, gently pull the dough out of the bowl, turning the dough out onto a floured surface. Shape your loaves, then place it seam side down in the proofing basket. Cover with the edges of the towel lining the basket.
- About 45mins later, preheat your oven to 475 F, with the dutch oven inside it. When the loaf is proofed (you can check by making sure the bread springs back a little when you poke it), and the oven and pot are hot hot hot, you’re ready to bake.
- Be careful with the hot Dutch oven! Pull it out of the oven, and place the loaf inside of it. I usually tip the loaf in sort of awkwardly. This is where you find out if you’ve properly dusted your proofing bowl. Pop the lid back on the pot, and carefully put it back in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, covered. Then remove the lid and bake another 20-30 minutes, until the loaf is a nice golden or dark brown.
- Remove the Dutch oven from the oven and turn the loaf out. Let it cool on a rack, for at least 20 minutes before slicing.