I love homemade bread! A few years ago I bought a bread maker off of Craig’s List, brand new for $25. I love making bread in the bread maker and experimenting with different flavors and textures. It always comes out delicious but I feel limited by the shape. Every so often I make bread by hand, the old fashioned way, so that I can make baguettes, ciabatta, round or some other shape and size. However, the time and amount of labor involved with making it by hand makes me go months before attempting it again.
As I was perusing cook books in the Bookshop the other day I came across My Bread: The revolutionary no-work, no-knead method by Jim Lahey and was immediately intrigued. Could it really be this easy to make rustic bread at home? The answer is yes, if you don’t need the bread that day or even possible the next.
Gathering all of my ingredients I started to make my bread. You basically just dump all the ingredients into a bowl, mix until a sticky dough forms and then cover with plastic wrap or a towel for 12- 18 hours. At the end of the rising time you dump the dough out and form it into the shape you want for your bread and then wrap it in a towel and let it rise for another 2 hours. Once the second rise is complete you bake the bread for 30-60 minutes. That is it! I think the total hands on time was 25 minutes, 15 minutes to mix the ingredients and another 10 to dump it out and shape it.
For the efforts of my 25 minutes labor my family was rewarded with beautiful, hearth baked bread for dinner. I made the basic bread recipe and what I got was a rustic, Italian style loaf. It really was that easy!
You need a few kitchen tools for making bread but they are probably items you already have - a bowl, measuring cups or a kitchen scale, a pot with a cover that you can use in the oven and a bowl scraper (although this last item is really not necessary as you can just use your hands).
If you have wanted to try making bread and you have 2 days to do it, I highly recommend Jim Lahey’s recipe.