from Shutterbean, originally from The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method by Jim Lahey

3 c bread flour
1/2 c raisins
1 1/4 tsp table salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c walnuts
1 1/2 c water
1/2 tsp instant or active dry yeast
pinch of fresh ground pepper
wheat bran, cornmeal, or additional flour for dusting (I just used extra flour)

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, raisins, walnuts, salt, cinnamon, yeast, and pepper, mixing thoroughly. Add the water and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until you have a wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds. If it’s not really sticky to the touch, mix in another tablespoon or two of water. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough is more than doubled in size, 12 to 18 hours.

When the first rise is complete, generously dust a work surface with flour. Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece. Using lightly floured hands or a bowl scraper or spatula, lift the edges of the dough in toward the center. Nudge and tuck in the edges of the dough to make it round.

Place a tea towel on your work surface and generously dust it with wheat bran, cornmeal, or flour. Gently place the dough on the towel, seam side down. If the dough is tacky, dust the top lightly with wheat bran, cornmeal, or flour. Fold the ends of the tea towel loosely over the dough to cover it and place it in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours. The dough is ready when it is almost doubled. If you gently poke it with your finger, it should hold the impression. If it springs back, let it rise for another 15 minutes.

Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 475 degrees F, with a rack in the lower third, and place the covered 4 1/2 – to 5 1/2 -quart heavy pot in the center of the rack.

Using pot holders, carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven and uncover it. Unfold the tea towel and quickly but gently invert the dough into the pot, seam side up. Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the lid and continue baking until bread is a deep chestnut color but not burnt, 15 to 30 minutes more (It took me and Shutterbean about 15). Use a heatproof spatula or pot holders to gently lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool thoroughly.

I love bread, and I love baking (like you couldn’t tell), but for some reason I’m really intimidated by recipes that call for yeast. What if I don’t get the water temperature right? What if it doesn’t rise? What if I hurt the bread when I’m kneading it? Well, this recipe was such a super intro to breadmaking for me, and it is SO TASTY. I would consider doubling the walnuts next time I make this (and that will be soon, you can count on it), as I’m a total nut fiend. Biting into the bread for the first time was lovely indeed, but when I came to a bite with a walnut, I finally understood the raves that Shutterbean gave it. Such a delightful chew-crunch!
I also must thank Shutterbean for her advice on rising. I was so afraid that our house wasn’t warm enough for the dough action we needed, and I was also concerned about the cats getting into it. She suggested that I heat my oven to 200 degrees F and turn it off. Once it’s cooled a bit, you can put the bowl in there to rise. Perfect! This solved both of my problems. It worked like a charm for both rises.
I started the dough at 9pm, and had the bread out of the oven by 1pm the following day… and promptly gave half of the loaf to my mother in-law, as I knew from that first bite that this bread was trouble! Note to self: do not make this bread before your husband has to work late at night. You will regret it.
Advertisements