Now that things are finally slowing down a bit, I can get down to business. The temperature took a pretty serious dive after the hurricane and we were not at all prepared for the colder weather. That meant finding wood, chopping wood, stacking wood… you get the picture, things have been hectic around here. I haven’t had a lot of spare time to do much of anything, let alone blog or cook or bake things that weren’t simply out of necessity. I had been dying to bake some bread. What is it about cold weather that makes me want fresh baked bread? Hmmm. Well, I got lucky! We had a few days that were near 70 degrees, just warm enough to keep the kitchen at a decent temperature so that I could bake some bread. Mmmmmmm homemade bread. Nothing fancy, just some no knead, rustic loaves. This isn’t the best photo [remember, I’m not a photographer, I cook!], but it still looks pretty yummy right?
I miss those 70’s plates. That big one is the only one I have left. *sigh* I’m getting distracted here. Recipes, that’s what you’re here for, right? Ok, but first, let me just tell you about what we did with that yummy bread. We made grilled cheese. Not just any grilled cheese, we used BACON! I know, I know. Some of you are thinking, “Bacon is overhyped! It’s not that great!”, on this we will just have to agree to disagree. Bacon made these grilled cheese sandwiches amazing! The gooey delicious cheese and soft thick bread didn’t hurt either. Trust me, you want to make these! But, to do so, first you need to make the bread. So, without further ado, the recipe…
Rustic No-knead bread
1 1/2 tbsp yeast
1 tbsp salt
6 1/2 cups flour
4 – 4 1/2 cups warm water [approx. 100* f]
Mix yeast with 4 cups of warm water. Let sit for a few minutes until nice and foamy. Stir in flour until there are no dry patches. 4 cups may be enough, but you may need to add up to a half of a cup more. If you find your dough is dry, add a little more until the dough is completely wet. Your dough will be sticky. Cover lightly with kitchen towel and let rise at room temperature for about 2 hours or until doubled in size [depending on how warm your kitchen is, it could take more or less time]. Mine usually takes about 2 hours, but my kitchen is on the cool side.
Cut dough in half, of if you’re making rolls, cut into orange sized pieces. Turn the dough in your hands [make sure you flour them!] to lightly stretch the top. It should look like half of a ball. Put the dough on a piece of parchment paper and let it rest at room temperature for 40 minutes.
Now, place a broiler pan or a baking sheet with high sides on the bottom rack in your oven. Also, place a pizza stone or a baking sheet with high sides turned upside down on the middle rack of your oven and preheat to 450*. Leave the pans inside oven and heat for 20 minutes. Now sprinkle the loaf with some flour and make 3 slices in top with a serrated knife or sharp razor. Place the first loaf on the baking sheet [leaving it on the parchment!]. Pour 2 cups of water into the broiler pan and close oven door immediately to trap in the steam, the steam is the key! Bake bread for 20 to 25 minutes [I baked mine for 22 minutes]. Keep other loaf[loaves] in fridge until ready to bake. Repeat process with other loaves. If you are baking rolls, your baking time may be shorter, keep an eye on it. This recipe makes 2 nice sized loaves of bread. It is easy to double this recipe, just make sure you have one bowl big enough to accommodate the dough or separate into two bowls.
Now go ahead and look me in the eye and tell me you don’t want it. I dare you. Can’t do it you say? Yeah, I didn’t think so.