Easy, Wonderfully Crisp, Chewy, Air-Holey Artisan Bread

I love the Attic 24 blog.  Lucy is a crocheter and makes the most beautiful and colorful crocheted items.  Her Neat Ripple Pattern is the one I’m using for my in-progress Ripple Stitch blanket:

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She lives in England, in the most quaint little town, and in addition to her crocheting projects her blog includes snippets of her family life and the scenery there.  It is just a joy to read her blog.

The other day I read her blog post: Artisan Bread and immediately became obsessed with making it.  And I had EVERYTHING I needed already.  Flour, salt, water and yeast.  That’s it!  Her post led me to this post which has the recipe and instructions. Beware, if you click to Lucy’s post and also to the recipe post, my post might look eerily similar to both!

So, one evening, I mixed up those four things and got this:

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Looks appetizing, no?  Sticky wet mess.  The idea for this bread is that there is no kneading.  At all.  So, I let that mess sit on the counter, covered in plastic for 24 hours.  The directions say 12-18 hours but it doesn’t matter if it’s 11 or 19.  Well, Paul and I got involved in all kinds of errands and didn’t get home until it was 24 hours, so I was a teeny tiny bit worried that it might not work.  I needn’t have worried!

After 24 hours it looked like this:

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I put it onto a floured board while the oven heated up to 450 degrees:

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Sooooo sticky.

Then shapde it into a ball and let it rest for 30 minutes while the cast iron pot heated up (empty with the top on) in the oven for the same amount of time:

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Once the pot heated up, I put a strip of parchment down, for easy removal later, and put the dough in the pot:

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I don’t think I floured the dough or my hands enough – I was afraid the flour would burn or something – so the dough was still sticking to my hands and it ended up in this not-nicely-rounded-but-an-elliptical-blob kind of thing.  I put the lid on and stuck it in the oven anyway:

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I’m quite sure that picture of the pot in the oven is not really necessary…

After 30 minutes of baking and the kitchen filling with the most wonderful aroma – there really is nothing better than the smell of freshly baking bread - I took the top off:

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Then popped it back in the oven for another 15 minutes until:

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Oh. My. Gosh.  It is the most wonderful bread in the world.  As Lucy suggested, it is chewy, air-holey, crispy and just divine slathered with a ton of butter:

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We had it toasted for breakfast the next day. STILL yummy.

 

5 comments on “Easy, Wonderfully Crisp, Chewy, Air-Holey Artisan Bread
  1. Libby says:

    Ha!! Knew this was the method popularized by Jim Lahey and his bakery in NYC. Social media had a big role in making this method more widely known. I think the research , recipe and method was published a few decades ago in the US. I first read about it in Alexis Stewart’s long-gone blog some years ago.
    It is too bad she took it down because it had lots of great recipes and exhaustive details and lots of photos, especially baking and candy recipes. Stewart cooked and baked nearly every day in large quantities and would package the baked goods and give them away. She had tips and links to food products, equipment and packaging.

  2. Libby says:

    Stewart has another blog online from 2011 & 2012 – not updated – that gives an idea of her cooking. By this time her 2 kids were born. The original blog was from her old show on Sirius radio and a tv show when she partnered with Jenny Hutt.

  3. Lisa P says:

    Holy crap Liz!! That looks amazing! I will be trying this… :)

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