Leavening the dough / Working it with your fingers / An age-old tradition #haiku
My buddy Bob in Palm Springs got this great recipe for a knead-less bread. I used spelt flour and later read that spelt is a fragile grain and doesn’t produce a good gluten, so I made a second batch of dough with unbleached organic wheat flour and combined them both in the kneading process. I used caraway seeds and an “everything bagel” topping. Mmm mmm mmm.
3 Cups of stone ground unbleached white flour
1/4 teaspoon of yeast
A little less than tablespoon of Salt
1 & 2/3 cup of tepid water
Cast Iron or ceramic casserole pot with lid (ours is 5 inches tall by 10 inches wide)
Step 1: Mix all dry ingredients in a metal or ceramic bowl. Pour in water and mix until everything is blended. Cover the bowl with Saran Wrap and cover with a clean dish towel. Place the bowl in a place where it can sit at room temperature undisturbed for 12 hours.
(You can leave it longer if need be, it really does not matter, I have left it for 24 hours without a problem. )
Step 2: After that period of time, flour a working surface so the bread will not stick and pour the dough, which may be quite wet on to the surface. Fluff enough flour around the bread so that you can handle it. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes. Then into a clean tea towel pour about 1 1/2 tablespoons of medium or fine cornmeal. Place the bread on the tea towel, spread one more half tablespoon of cornmeal on top of the bread and fold the tea towel over the bread. Let it rest for two hours. You can also add any seeds you wish at this point, poppy, sesame etc.
Step 3 :Preheat the oven and the casserole pot to 450 degrees for a half an hour.
After the bread has rested for a total of 2 hours and the oven and pot have been preheating for half an hour, pour the bread* from the tea towel into the hot pot. This will seem fairly slipshod but don’t worry, just dump it in the pot. Cover the pot and bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Place on baking rack to cool. Admire your bread…it will look like you had an art director and a food stylist working on this while it was in the oven…no boule!
*Prior to this step you may garnish the dough with fresh herbs or sea salt or multi-grains – whatever.
Enjoy your crispy fresh bread – start the next batch the moment you take this one out of the oven! With the 12 hour turn around time you will need it.
If you are concerned about bread consumption, SLICE IT THIN! It makes wonderful little crisps. If you subtract the time you allow the bread to rise, the actual time of assembly is less than 5 minutes and the cost is about 30 cents a loaf.
This is a recipe from the Sullivan Street Bakery on 47th Street in New York City. Enjoy… try it with a some great olives a glass of earthy red wine, some virgin olive oil and sea salt and maybe a slice of great cheese….ah happiness!