Wow, it's been a while since I posted! We spent all of last week in Idaho visiting family, just got back on Monday. I have a couple recipes that I'm planning posts for, but I have to do this one first because I'm so excited about it.
I started this bread yesterday evening and it was finally done this afternoon. It's so delicious! Yes, it takes a very long time from start to finish, but with very little hands-on time or effort. It's a set-it-and-forget-it kind of bread. And definitely worth the wait.
Speaking of wait, that's my little guy in the background, waiting for me to hurry up and finish taking pictures so he can have a slice!
This is a sourdough bread that really fascinated me because it doesn't use a starter! I don't have to start the starter, let it sit for 3 or 4 days, then store it in the fridge and make sure to use it or drain it every couple of weeks! I love sourdough bread, but I always end up letting the starter die and turn funny colors. So I was excited to be given this recipe. It just uses a tiny amount of yeast and rises for a very long time, and it gets that wonderful sourdough scent and flavor. I don't think it turned out quite as sour as the kind with a starter, but it's delicious nonetheless.
3 cups flour
1/4 tsp. instant yeast
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 5/8 cups water
Mix ingredients in bowl. Dough will be sticky and shaggy. Cover and let sit for 18 hours. Drop dough on floured surface, put a little flour on top. Let sit for 15 minutes.
Mold the dough by folding, tucking, and/or shaping a bit. Drop on floured surface. Put towel over it and let sit for 2 hours.
Half an hour before the dough is done resting, put a big heavy pan with a lid into cold oven. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Take pan out. Plop dough into hot pan. Bake for 30 minutes with lid. Bake without lid for 15-30 minutes.
I used my ceramic 2 1/2 qt. casserole dish to bake the bread in, because it's the only pan I have that has a lid. It worked perfectly - I didn't grease the dish and the bread came out without sticking at all. It was crispy and crusty on the outside, soft on the inside. Yummmm....
***Update, I forgot to add something. You have to think ahead with this recipe. First off, you have to start it the day before you want to eat it. Also - that first rise will really get you if you're not careful! I decided that I don't want to be getting up before 8:00 in the morning to be working on bread, so I won't start the bread before 2:00 in the afternoon. You don't want to start it at 10 in the morning only to realize that the dough will finish its first rise at around 3 in the morning! So do the math before you do the mixing. :-)