[Sca-cooks] OOP: beginner's bread books

Judith Epstein judith at ipstenu.org
Wed Jul 29 15:20:31 PDT 2009

I don't know of a book, but I can share a single recipe that requires  
only the four basic ingredients of bread, a deep pot with a lid (such  
as a Dutch oven), and no special technique at all. I've been using a  
similar recipe all my life, as has my mother, and hers before her; and  
about a year ago I saw a very similar recipe called "No-Knead Artisan  
Bread" or something like that posted in the New York Times. It is very  
crusty, and can be used as a bread-bowl for stews and thicker soups,  
or a truncheon for a meat meal. -- Judith / no SCA name yet

No-Knead Bread

3 C flour, any kind, sifted, in a bowl
½ tsp active dry yeast (dry or wet, but NOT instant)
2 tsp salt (I increase this to a full tablespoon)
1 ½ C warm water

The first day:

Mix dry ingredients together with a fork. Amounts need not be  
painfully precise; this recipe will accept some fudging. Add water and  
pull it together with one hand, just enough to moisten all the  
ingredients. Transfer to another bowl, oiled lightly. Cover with  
plastic wrap and let sit out over night.

The next day:

Preheat oven to 450° F with a covered dish (Pyrex, cast-iron, or any  
other type) inside. Don't wait to put it inside, or it may shatter  
with the rapid and drastic temperature change!

Dump dough onto a heavily floured surface. Fold once, but do not  
knead. Sprinkle the top with whole wheat or wheat bran.

Open the oven and lift of the pot lid WITH A POTHOLDER and put it  
aside, then use both hands to dump the bread dough inside (top up,  
since that’s the side that will have less flouring on it) and close  
the lid immediately. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. Less bake will mean a  
slightly softer bread and crust, while a longer bake will obviously  
result in a harder bread and crust.


* When flouring your board, use oats (rolled, cracked, milled, or even  
instant oatmeal), cornmeal, cracked wheatberries, wheat bran,  
flaxseeds, or some other crunchy thing instead of flour.
* Experiment by adding herbs, spices, dried fruits, nuts, even sliced  
olives to the dough.
* Change to another type of flour. Wheat, oats, barley, spelt, and rye  
work best, but try out other kinds just for kicks. Can be made with a  
gluten-free flour substitute that contains xantham gum or another gum  
meant to mimic the stretchy spring of gluten.
* Try substituting fruit juice, wine, or beer for some of the water  
(but not all -- fruit juice may burn).

On Jul 29, 2009, at 5:04 PM, Sandra J. Kisner wrote:

> Can anybody recommend a good book (or a general cookbook with a good  
> bread section) for a beginner?  He's a competent cook, but not a  
> baker.
> Sandra

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