discussed bread-making before, and how it really only takes a few minutes of effort, spaced out over time, but this recipe takes that a step further. You mix the ingredients, cover and let rest for 18-24 hours (longer is better). Punch it down, let it rise another hour or two, then bake. You're hands-on for all of 10 minutes to produce a bakery-quality loaf.
This requires some pre-planning of course - because the rise time is so long, you need to be prepared to wait for your bread. Probably no big deal - but if you want something to make for dinner tonight, this recipe isn't it. But if you can plan ahead, this recipe is so easy that it's well-worth the extra wait time.
Lodge (who makes great cast-iron cookware), but you could use another brand, including an enameled version. If your dutch oven has a plastic handle, remove it before placing it in the oven (it can melt!) - there are metal replacement knobs available for Le Creuset dutch ovens. If your dutch oven is small, you can bake two smaller loaves; I bake one large loaf in the Lodge oven. If you don't have, and don't want to purchase, a cast iron dutch oven, you can try baking this loaf on a regular old baking sheet - it's likely that it will turn out fine, but the crust will not be the same.
Whole Wheat No-Knead Bread
You can use different flours or proportions of flours here if you like - but stick with gluten-containing flours (like wheat) to ensure good texture. And yes, the tiny amount of yeast is really all you need.
Yield: 1 loaf
1 cup whole wheat bread flour
1 cup bread flour
1 cup whole grain spelt flour
1/4 tsp yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water
Additional flour or cornmeal, for dusting
1. Stir together flours, yeast, and salt. Make a well in the center with your fist, then pour in the water. Stir to combine, until a dough forms. If it is too dry, add additional water 1 tbsp at a time. If it is too wet, add additional flour 1 tbsp at a time. This should be a sticky dough.
2. Place in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to rise 18-24 hours. (I place it on top of the fridge.)
3. After the rise, punch down the dough and shape into a round loaf. Place on a baking sheet dusted with flour or cornmeal, cover with a clean dish towel, and let rise 1-2 more hours, until at least doubled in size.
4. Place a covered cast iron dutch oven in your oven (adjust the racks as necessary first). Heat the oven to 450 degrees, allowing at least 30 minutes to pre-heat.
5. Carefully uncover the dutch oven, place the dough in the bottom, and re-cover. Bake 30 minutes, until golden brown. (The original recipe says to bake an additional 15-30 minutes uncovered, but I found the loaf was done at 30 minutes. If you like a darker crust, let it go uncovered a bit longer.)
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