There's always a time for the obligatory no knead bread post. Ever since Jim Lahey published his recipe for no knead bread (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/081mrex.html), the baking world exploded. Everything that was set in stone subsequently flipped over. The "merde" hit the fan.
While I won't bore y'all with the science behind this revolutionary method (because there's probably a thousand sites detailing it much better than I'd be able to), I will let you know my insights after baking around two dozen loafs of no knead bread.
While most recipes are for loaves, I decided to attempt a baguette. While probably not up to the strict French laws of what constitutes a baguette, it's in the same shape and anyone in America would gladly call it a baguette.
Here is the ingredient list:
- 3 cups of flour (I used all purpose)
- 1 and 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 3/4 teaspoon INSTANT yeast (also called fast-rise)
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Here is where you can be creative: add whatever spices you like. I added a tablespoon of rosemary and a tablespoon of olive oil.
Now combine all the ingredients and stir until a sticky ball is formed. Cover it and let it sit in a warm place for up to around 24 hours.
The next day when you come home from work/class, take out your dough and split it up into two different balls/ovals (really it just depends on how wet your dough is) on a WELL floured surface. This is one of the trickiest parts because the dough is so unmanageable.
Now cover this and let it rise for about two hours. The next step is to form these ovals into baguette shapes. Form them into two long strips and let them rise for about an hour or so. Use this time to do dishes or drink a diet coke.
The next step is the easiest part. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and put a baking pan in it. Once the proper temperature has been established, take out the pan and flour it a bit. Then put one of the baguettes on it and bake for about 45-60 minutes. Don't peek too much or it will take much longer.
After the time, pull your bread out and put on the Doors because you just made BREAD. Such a beautiful crumb, the bubbles perfectly sized to soak up maximum amounts of delicious, exotic olive oil. Such cavernous, gaping holes to make even the most seasoned spelunker jealous. Every time I pull bread out of the oven, I honestly break into tears because I never thought it would be possible.