Merciful God, You are great in compassion and Your tenderness for us is without measure. We ask You to give us today our daily bread, and also provide for the needs of all of Your hungry children around the world. Through Christ Your Son and Our Lord. Amen.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Recipe Review -- Crunchy, Chewy, Delicious Bread

Highly unusual -- two recipes in a row that I just can't touch, no way to improve.

I read about this bread at Cheryl's, who read about it at Kimberly's, who read about it... apparently this bread makes an impression wherever it goes. I was so impressed by Cheryl's post that I bought a pot in which to cook this bread. Yes, a pot I said. This bread cooks in a pot with a lid, in a 450 degree oven, which disqualified every lidded pot I have. So, I broke down and bought a Lodge Cast Iron Dutch oven. It only put me back $29.99 -- not bad for a new pot that doesn't leach nickel into our food. And a good cast iron pot will last forever, if it makes it one piece from the retailer (that's another story though).

Anyway, back to the bread. This bread was touted by the baker in this video as being a bread that a six-year-old could make. Trust me, if my six-year-old could handle a 450-degree pot, she
could make this bread. The recipe is simple -- found here -- but, again, you do have to have the pot and you have to start the day before.

I started yesterday evening after the dinner dishes were done and it took me less than two minutes -- honestly. I put the bowl in the microwave -- not to cook, just to rest -- and left it there for 15 hours. At about noon today I started step two and by 2:45 I had a great loaf of bread. Top five -- maybe best ever. It's crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle. And it has a great taste -- it went wonderfully with our soup for dinner, but would be a great bread for a sandwich, too. It is really exactly like a bread you would buy at a pricey baker -- for the cost of 3 cups of flour, a teaspoon and a half of salt and a quarter teaspoon of salt (and a pot --wink--). Incredible.



Deborah said...

I've been meaning to try this since reading about it early last year. The pot is an issue for me too! Might have to do a little shopping! ;-)

Pammy said...

What exactly is "instant yeast"? I'm not sure I have ever heard of this.

scmom (Barbara) said...

Most yeast you find in stores is instant yeast, with the exception of active dry yeast which should be dissolved in water before using. The yeast in this bread recipe is mixed with the flour, water and salt and starts acting right away.

I buy my yeast at a health food store because it's very inexpensive -- $2 for a half pound. Because the store puts it in small bags, they re-label it. The store label says Red Star Baking Yeast, but I really have no idea what exact Red Star yeast it is. It's likely quick yeast or bread machine yeast, though, because it doesn't need to be activated.

If you have active dry yeast in your fridge, you can still make the bread -- just dissolve the yeast in the water before adding the flour and salt.

The amazing this about this recipe is that it requires only 1/4 t. yeast. Most bread recipes use at least 2 t. per loaf. The long rising time allows just a tiny bit to do the work.

Barb, sfo said...

I tried this bread and it's very good.
I don't have a dutch oven, so I just used a Corning Ware dish with lid, that I figured would be the right size. It worked great.

Pammy said...

Thanks Barbara for the clarification on the yeast. All I have is the "active dry yeast" in my fridge, but I'm dying to try this recipe! I love bread!

Andrea said...

Sounds great, we'll be trying it. I even have a a cast iron dutch oven (picked it up at a thrift store years ago).

Anonymous said...

Isn't it a delicious bread? I'm going to make it again next week when Firstborn is home on spring break...he loves homemade bread too! :)

Anne said...

I'm definitely going to have to put that pot on my wish list. I love almost any kind of bread and I'm eager to try this. Maybe I'll do it while I'm at my mom's this weekend. I believe she has a cast iron pot.

Janet said...

I've made this bread in a 2 qt. Pyrex casserole dish with a lid and I've baked it in a loaf pan that I covered with greased aluminum foil. I take the foil off after 10 minutes and bake for another 20 - 25 mins.

I use regular yeast not "instant" and I just put it in with the flour and salt.

Another thing I do is to just stir the dough down after the first rising and keep it in the same bowl. Then I let it rise for three hours, then turn it into the heated baking dish. It is so much easier than trying to "fold the dough" on a floured towel.

Every loaf I've made with this recipe has turned out deliciously. I think its pretty hard to mess this one up!

scmom (Barbara) said...

I'm curious to know if you use a glass or metal pot to cook your bread. I'm baking a loaf right now, but, I'm using a Pyrex dish my mother in law just gave me and I was afraid to heat it empty -- so I don't think my crust will be the same. Let me know, if you don't mind.