Whether it is a craft experiment or a cooking one, I can't seem to resist the unknown. There's nothing I like better than to challenge myself to create something that I've never made before. Oftentimes the result is less than satisfactory, but that usually only nudges me to try again. This was the case with this bread recipe which I adapted from a recipe I found on the Frugal Living website (which was adapted from a recipe from Jim Lahey's book, My Bread). I've successfully made bread before but it always involved kneading the dough. This recipe intrigued me because it just had a very long rising period and was popped into a Dutch oven and baked. Amazingly, the recipe worked on the first try, so I decided to share it with you:
6 cups whole wheat flour (King Arthur's white whole wheat) minus 2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons gluten flour
1/2 tsp. instant yeast
2-1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
2-2/3 cups cool water
Because I didn't have bread flour which the Frugal Living recipe called for, I took out 2 T. and replaced it with the same amount of gluten flour to make the bread more stretchy. Stir all the ingredients together in a big bowl to form a sticky dough (add more water if necessary). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit for 12-18 hours. When it is ready it should look like the bowl in the first photo.
With floured work surface and hands fold the dough into itself and form a sloppy ball. Place the dough ball in a floured non-terry towel (my dough stuck to the towel so I will try another towel or use parchment paper next time). Wrap the dough ball loosely with the towel and let it rise for about 2 hours until doubled in size. (See next photo.)
In the last 1/2 hour place your dutch oven (make sure it is oven safe at 450 degrees) in a cold oven and let it preheat to 425-450 degrees. When the two hours of rising is over and your oven is at the right temperature remove the cover and plop the dough into the (6-8 quart) dutch oven. I carefully (it's really hot and heavy) took the dutch oven out and rested it on my counter before placing the dough in it. It's okay if the dough ball ends upside-down and is messy. Bake the bread covered for 40-50 minutes and then uncovered for 5-10 minutes more. Take out the loaf with wooden spoons or heat resistant spatulas. Cool your bread on a wire rack before slicing.
My bread looked very rustic. The taste was wholesome which made it yummy with herbed butter (try the new Challenge Butter Tuscan flavor which has olive and canola oil). For my next loaf I think I'll try adding herbs or nuts and fruits. This bread freezes well too. If you've always wanted to try bread baking and thought you couldn't do it, you've got to try this method. It's so easy and all you really need are a few simple ingredients and some free time. Experiment and experience life! Blogland Bunny Blessings to You!