I had wanted to learn how to make yeast bread for quite some time, but never did. I was scared off by all the talk of starters, yeasts, weight vs volume, kneading methods, rising times, etc. In the last few weeks though, I noticed several blog posts and articles on homemade bread (see here, here, here, and here); so I decided it was finally time to make (or break) bread.
I went with the simple and straight-forward no-knead approach that has been made famous by Jim Lahey and Mark Bittman. Any recipe that claims to be so easy that a 4 year-old can do it, involves not doing anything for 20 hours, and promises to deliver delicious bread, works for me.
Flour, yeast, salt, water. Quick mix, cover, and let it sit for 20 hours. Dust with flour, fold, rise. Coat with wheat bran and bake in a dutch over. That’s it. Well, there’s a little bit more to it, but really, it’s that easy. Here’s the detailed recipe and instructions. I found the video below to be very helpful as well – I watched it about 10 times before flipping the loaf into the oven.
Basically, I went from this:
Which also looked like this:
As promised, the recipe delivered. Given that it was my first attempt, I was quite certain that I was doing everything wrong at every step in the process. But as you can see from the photos, it was a success – decent rise, nice coating, good air pockets, not too dense, and it tasted good. It was great for building my confidence as a first-time bread baker too. As for the traditional French bread I attempted the next day, not so much. Next time.