When we were in Iowa, visiting the lovely Forsbergs, Jet made us some of this bread. I adored it and asked her for the recipe. But as things happen on trips, in the getting home and settling into life again, this recipe was mislaid and forgotten about. I discovered the recipe in the side pocket of a tote we had taken on the road trip a few months later, but it looked mildly complicated and I shoved it into my bulging recipe book and forgot about it. A few weeks ago, for some unknown reason, I remembered it and pulled it out.
Oh the unexpected joy about to enter our lives.
One of the first comments someone made after biting into was "Why did you only make one?" It disappeared rapidly. I made two more for the next day. (Okay, full disclosure, I mixed up three, but one suffered an early death, since the plate I had balanced precariously on top of the bowl it was rising in fell off and broke, intermingling glass shards with the dough. It had to thrown out.) And the following day, I made three. My brother says this bread, with honey and butter is better than any cake or cookie anyone could make. (He is prone to exaggeration.)
Still, it is lovely. And easy.
Part of the enchantment for me is the fact that it is made with just water, yeast, flour and salt. There is something so magical about taking such basic ingredients and making something lovely. Abra-ca-dabra!
This is the link to the real recipe, from Mother Earth News, for you sticklers for detail.
No Knead Dutch Oven Bread
1/4 tsp active dry yeast (just yeast)
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
3 cups flour (you can mix and match whole wheat in there. I never have.)
1 1/2 tsp salt
The night before you want bread, mix up the ingredients, dissolving the yeast in the lukewarm water and then stirring in the flour and salt. After stirring it all together, cover it and leave it in a room temp (70 degrees F) area for 12-18 hours. (When I am doubling or tripling this recipe, I just make three separate recipes, in three separate tupperware bowls, since you leave it in the bowl to rise anyway.)
Four hours before you want to eat the bread, take it out of the bowl and turn it onto a floured surface. Fold the bread over on itself a few times (Basically, you are gently kneading it, but if you call it that, the title of the recipe would be wrong, so just fold it.) Flour (or dust with cornmeal) a thin dishtowel (I use the flour sack towels I have) and wrap it up for two more hours of rising.
An hour and a half after wrapping it up, turn oven on to 475 and put the dutch oven in there to preheat. (You can use pyrex or ceramic. It just needs a top.) Once everything is piping hot, and the two hours are up, pull out hot the dutch oven, and pop the dough in. Return dutch oven to oven for half an hour. Remove lid and cook 15 minutes more. (45 min total). (Yes, that IS 45 minutes at 475. There was a lot of talk about it being burned at that temperature for that length time, but it wasn't. Just has a lovely thick crust.)
Immediately remove from oven and turn out onto a cutting board. Let sit one hour before slicing it. (We don't always wait an hour. Who can resist hot bread? It is easier to cut after waiting a little while though.)