Make it Crusty

Posted on June 3, 2009

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If you would like a really easy bread recipe that needs no kneading check out my version of the NYT recipe that is featured in this months Fabulous Places Blog.

I find this works best for me if I make the dough just before the school run (around 3.30pm) then do the first dough slooshing when I get up, then bake it mid morning. As you can see, the times can be very approximate!

15oz Strong White bread flour
¼ tsp instant easibake yeast (out of a sachet)
1 tsp salt

Mix together well

Add 11fl oz of lukewarm water
Slosh it round into a gooey lump of dough (don’t worry if it does not hold together)
Leave in a big bowl and cover with cling film or a bin bag!
Leave in kitchen for 16-18 hours – or more if you forget.

Use a dough scraper/cutter or your fingers, to scrape the quite wet dough away from the sides, using plenty of flour to stop it sticking, and shuffle it back into a nice round shape.

I tend to put it in a clean oiled bowl at this stage, as it’s easier

Cover with a tea towel and leave for 2 more hours

Preheat oven to 200-220 and put in a Le Creuset or cast iron casserole with a lid on until the oven and the pan are super hot.

Again use the scraper and a a good sprinkle of flour to detach the dough from the bowl without puncturing it’s airy goodness! Then quick as you can, without losing the heat from the oven and pan, throw the dough into the hot pan smooth side down and put the lid back on

Cook for 30 minutes lid on
Cook for 10-15 minutes lid off until Golden brown
Cool well before trying to slice

…and if you fancy turning it into something a bit different to the normal loaf you can make the dough into the impressive looking ‘Fougasse‘:

After it has had it’s 2nd proving of 2 hours, very carefully tip it onto a well floured board. Keep the air in it and don’t puncture. You will need to sprinkle flour on the top of the sticky dough so it coats it as you pull it away from the side with a rounded plastic dough cutter.

Use the cutter to carve off a fifth of the dough in a rough rectangle, ideally on a thin flexi cutting board. Stretch it out gently to make it a bit bigger then use the cutter to cut a slash diagonally across the rectangle. Then make 2 more slashes radiating out on either side of this one. stretch out to make into a sort of cheeseplant leaf shape. (See photo)

Slide this onto a very hot preheated cookie sheet in a 220 degree oven for 10 minutes. I cook this in batches of two so as not to lose the heat in the oven.

Fab to rip up and have with soup. Eat warm.

I have recently made the same bread but used oil instead of flour to lubricate the bowl. It makes for a wetter dough and smaller crumb, but still delicious: