Today, I finally made the bread that ate the Internet. Not only was it the first time I made this bread, it was actually the first time I made any bread. With yeast. Oh, sure, I had all the reasons and excuses why yeasted breads were just not for me to make. But this bread is promoted with the lure that it will only take you 5 minutes of actual work to make it. Now, this figure is averaged out, because the recipe makes enough for 4 loaves of bread, so your actual work time comes out to only 5 minutes per.
It was really quite easy. Three simple ingredients, plus water. I don’t think they could have simplified it any more for me. It was painless, idiot-proof, and, quite honestly, a delicious bread. While it lasted. Imagine having warm artisan bread fresh out of the oven, right in your very kitchen, for your adulant fans (or/or family, whatever the case may be). Try this bread; you will like it. After I use up this batch, I shall start experimenting with some variations. Fun. Enjoy.
5 minute no-knead bread, by Jeff Hertzberg
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
6 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, more for dusting dough
1. In a large bowl or plastic container, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm water (about 100 degrees). Stir in flour, mixing until there are no dry patches. Dough will be quite loose. Cover, but not with an airtight lid. Let dough rise at room temperature 2 hours (or up to 5 hours).
2. Bake at this point or refrigerate, covered, for as long as two weeks. When ready to bake, sprinkle a little flour on dough and cut off a grapefruit-size piece with serrated knife. Turn dough in hands to lightly stretch surface, creating a rounded top and a lumpy bottom. Put dough on pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal; let rest 40 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough or refrigerate it.
3. Place broiler pan on bottom of oven. Place baking stone on middle rack and turn oven to 450 degrees; heat stone at that temperature for 20 minutes.
4. Dust dough with flour, slash top with serrated or very sharp knife three times. Slide onto stone. Pour one cup hot water into broiler pan and shut oven quickly to trap steam. Bake until well browned, about 30 minutes. Cool completely.
Yield: 4 loaves.
Variation: If not using stone, stretch rounded dough into oval and place in a greased, nonstick loaf pan. Let rest 40 minutes if fresh, an extra hour if refrigerated. Heat oven to 450 degrees for 5 minutes. Place pan on middle rack.
Note: I did not use a stone; I placed my dough onto parchment paper sprinkled with the cornmeal, then carefully placed the parchment and loaf in the oven on a baking pan that had been preheated for 5 minutes at 450 degrees F.