We have been making lots and lots of bread over the last few months. It's becoming Ivy's speciality in fact. Here's her recipe:
There are lots of versions of this 'no-knead' bread on the Internet though. (Gourmet Girlfriend is even running a 'bread revolution' if you'd like to take pics of your creations and share them on Instagram. One of those examples of hive mind ideas bubbling up at once.) This no-knead method basically replaces the usual kneading time with a very long prove on the kitchen counter. This way, the gluten develops through a long, slow fermentation and the bread develops a delicious flavour. Many recipes use a second proving time but we never even bother, and the bread is delicious.
Here's our recipe, the simplest version of them all:
- 3 cups of flour, 1 3/4 tsp of salt and half a teaspoon of yeast. Use your fingers to spread the dry ingredients around the bowl, which helps to start the yeast activating. (We add a little LSA or kibble grain here too.) Then, add the water and mix until it just comes together into a sloppy ball.
- Leave it overnight in a bowl covered in plastic wrap. We tend to make it after school, and bake it in the morning. Anywhere between 12 and 24 hours proving time is OK.
- In the morning, take a cast iron pot (I use my Le Crueset here), and heat it, lid on, in the oven at 200 for twenty minutes.
- Take the sloppy bread mix out of the bowl and drop it in a little flour on the counter. Flip it over and into your pot, and bake it in the oven (lid on) for half and hour, lid off for another fifteen minutes.
Making bread is a great after-school activity for slightly frazzled, post-institutionalised kids. Hands in dough, creating, chatting to Mum all the while. Ivy likes to rope Ted in as her soux-chef, talking him through every step with a good amount of big-sisterly condescension. It's a good system , this - we have another loaf to cook at lunchtime the next day.
Be warned that bread dough is gloopy, messy, sticky stuff. This bread-making caper comes with a significant amount of cleaning up. But it's worth it.
Sadly, my mother-in-laws old yellow bowl broke a couple of weeks ago. She used it to make bread for Keith and his siblings, and I loved the history of using it to make bread for my family. It slipped out of my hands and smashed. I cried. Now I need a new bowl.
Et voila! Best eaten with butter while while reading an Indiana Jones choose-your-own-adventure book.