I love home-made bread. We rarely have store-bought in the house. And I have been quite happy using the bread machine to do the kneading and first rise and then shaping and baking in the oven. The house smells wonderful, and the bread tastes great. The thing I lose with the machine is that the crumb structure is overly-uniform.
This photo shows my results of the No-Knead Bread (video) from NY Times' columnist The Minimalist. The bread comes out just as they suggest: crunchy crust with a wonderful texture and crumb. This will become part of our staple of breads at home. Here's the basic recipe, but watch the video for some of the nuances.
- Mix together in a bowl: 3 cups flour, 1/4 teaspoon yeast, 1 1/4 teaspoon salt.
- Mix in 1 1/2 cups water to form a dough (do not over-mix)
- Cover and leave for ~12 hours
- Heat Dutch Oven (or 2 quart Pyrex) in oven at 500-515 degrees F
- Dump dough onto floured surface (will be wet / stringy).
- Pat dough flat and fold over a few times into a flattened ball
- Dust a towel with wheat bran
- Place dough on towel, seam down
- Dust with wheat bran (or flour)
- Pull out Dutch Oven
- Quickly invert dough onto your hand and plop into the Dutch Oven (the seam is now up), cover then place back in the oven
- Bake 30 minutes covered, 15-20 minutes uncovered
- Remove, cool, and enjoy a beautiful bread with a dark, crunchy crust.