Most of you who follow us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, have seen our bread picture posts and the #hashtags that we assign to our favorite social media posts/comments. So it got us thinking. It would be awesome, to get a behind the scene look at our favorite social media posts and how they were created. A look #behindthehashtag. #BehindTheHashtag is a new series we started to do just that. Take you behind the scenes and look at the making of your favorite social media food posts. Not just of us (SoflaFoodie), but posts and #hashtags, from some of your favorite local chefs, bars and eateries. This is the first in that such series. A look behind this #hashtag. Enjoy!
Flour, Yeast, Salt & Water. That and a little bit of time (an love), is all you need to make your own bread. I am a firm believer that everyone, at least once in their life, should make their own bread. The list of homemade items should not stop there, but for the purposes of taking baby steps, let’s just start with bread.
Like most people, I often check the labels on items I purchase at the supermarket, that either I or our kids eat. Bread and pasta, at least for me, seem to be the two items I’m least likely to check the label on and buy purely based on brand name. Mistake, because what I found, disturbed me. I couldn’t pronounce half of the ingredients, but I can pronounce sugar. Really? Now, I am not naive enough to think I can totally eliminate the things I can’t pronounce from my diet, but with certain foods I can try. And so began my quest to make my own bread. How hard could it be? It turns out it’s easier than you think, and even more delicious than any bread you’ll buy from a store. What started out as a fun exercise, quickly turned into an obsession (my wife and friends can attest) but I love it and so so the kids.
I started out researching online, reading cook books and watching various youtube videos. Then I stumbled up an article in the New York Times written by Mark Bittman. You know, the guy on your Jetblue TV screen when you don’t change the channel during the flight. You all know what I’m talking about. Actually Mark is a highly acclaimed food and cook writer. Anyway, in the article, Mark interviews Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery in New York City and his now famous no-knead bread recipe. Yes, I said it, No-Knead bread. It’s simple, its easy and anyone can do it. Even a six year old.
Here is the recipe I use and a few things I learned along the way:
Adapted from NY Times Article and Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
- 3 cups King Arthur Organic Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (You can use what ever flour your like. I have made this bread with all-purpose, bread, white whole wheat and whole wheat flour – keep in mind that each flour will change the density of the bread, so play around with it)
- 1½ cups of Bottled Spring Water (I am a big believer that water affects bread flavor – i.e. NY bagels, so I use water I like to drink myself, which is not bottled purified water)
- ¼ teaspoon instant yeast (I use either Saf Instant yeast or Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise yeast, you don’t want to use active yeast as that requires you to dissolve it before hand, which the recipe doesn’t call for)
- 1¼ teaspoon salt
- extra flour, wheat bran, or cornmeal (for dusting)
Glass bowl, plasticware or tupperware with a lid
4-6 quart dutch oven with cover (cast iron, enamel) Its does’t have to be Le Creuset.
Two or three cotton dish towels (not terrycloth)
Mix all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add water and incorporate by hand for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until combined. Add a table spoon of extra water if needed to incorporate additional bits of dry ingredients on the bottom of the bowl. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest on the counter at room temperature for 12-15 hours. (If you are going to make the bread Saturday morning for example, I would suggest you make the dough the evening before)
12-15 hours later, dust your work area with flour (you can use wheat bran or cornmeal if that is what you prefer coated on your bread, I use flour), remove the dough from the bowl and lightly pat in down. Although round, fold each corner into the middle. Generously coat a cotton towel with flour (wheat bran, or cornmeal) and place the dough seam side down on the towel and dust the top with flour. Cover the dough with a cotton towel and let rise 1-2 hours at room temperature, until more than doubled in size.
While the dough is rising, preheat oven to 450°F and place the pot in the oven with the cover on. Once the dough has more than doubled in volume, remove the pot from the oven (use gloves, it is very hot), remove the lid and place the dough in the pot seam side up. Cover with the lid and bake 30 minutes. After 30 min, remove the lid and bake uncovered for an additional 12-15min, until the loaf is nicely browned.
Remove from the oven and place the bread in a rack to cool. And resist the urge to tear right into it. Let it cool for at least 30 min.
When my mother-in-law started to make the bread, I put together a short instructional video for her to follow. Hope it helps. Feel free to email me with any questions, comments or concerns you may have. All I ask in return is that you post your bread pictures to your social media of choice and tag @soflafoodie so that I can see everyones masterpiece.