my ‘go to’ non-junk food comfort food (which I’m currently trying to rebadge discomfort food but with minimal success) is bread. Not any bread, proper bread. Sourdough or something wholesome. With a dish of extra virgin olive oil, drops of balsamic vinegar, sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper. I can eat that shit till my head falls off. Or my stomach so distended my arms can’t reach the bench anymore.
I have my firm favourite homemade bread which I firmly stuck to throughout the whole no knead bread fad. But the other day I had a hankering to try something new and of course it was my ‘ole mate Joke who came to the party with a recipe that hit the spot. You do need a cast iron pot with a lid but apart from that I am guessing you could go coco bananas with what sort of flour, beer and vinegar you use.
(Almost) No Knead Bread
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons mild-flavoured lager
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- Whisk flour, yeast, and salt in large bowl and then add the water, beer and vinegar
- Fold the mixture together into a shaggy ball then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 8 to 18 hours
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead the dough 10 to 15 times – I then get a long piece of baking paper and place it in the bowl
- Shape the dough into ball by pulling edges into middle and then transfer it, seam-side down, to the baking-paper lined bowl. (see below – that glorious round of dough? Just 15 turns and it is that glorious)
- Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until dough has doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with finger, about 2 hours
- About 30 minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place your Dutch oven (with lid) on the rack, and heat oven to 250 degrees
- Lightly flour top of dough and, using a sharp knife, make a long 1cm deep slit along the top of the dough
- Then, taking care not to burn the crap out of your hands, wrists, arms, carefully lift the lid off the pot, transfer the dough and baking paper (hence a long piece of paper, so you can lift it and lower it) into the pot
- Put the lid back on and place in the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 200C and bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue to bake until loaf is deep brown – about 20 to 30 minutes longer
- Carefully remove bread from pot, transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours*.
*Pfft as if that ever happens.