How many times do I hear myself say, "where is that big orange binder?" or "has anyone seen that big orange binder?" The big orange binder has been accumulating recipes, kinspiration & original recipe cards tucked into plastic sleeves for my entire-almost-forty year existence. "The Big Orange Binder" is an organization attempt. It's a recipe with a story neatly packaged in a place where I'll always be able to find the ever-elusive . . . Big Orange Binder.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Anna's Rustic No-Knead Artisan Bread

I pinned this.  From Suzie the Foodie.

I'm a huge fan of homemade bread.  I love to make it, bake it and I think it's absolutely worth the wait.  I pinned this one because it looked pretty.  I don't mind kneading, but it was a bonus.  Here's my pinterest experiment . . . .

By the way, the original recipe, hence the name, Anna . . . is here .  .

A recipe so easy even your four-year old can do it.  With her fish-face on.

In a garhugic bowl,
     * 3 cups of flour
     * 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
     * 1 1/2 tsp salt
     * 1 1/2 cups of water

Have kitchen helper mix well . . .

Add water.  Boy, howdy, it's dry in this land, so I added about 1/8 cup more water.  Incidentally, the original recipe didn't mention water temperature, but everything I've ever known about bread, yeast and the like calls for hot.  I went with the tried and true mommy method and set the faucet solidly between "damn that's too hot" and "lukewarm".

Mix, mix, mix.  Scrape the sides, make sure all the ingredients are incorporated.  A ball forms.

I transferred to a different bowl here.  I'm anal like that.  It's probably not necessary.  In all honesty, the red bowl is the popcorn bowl and I knew the kids would want it after school.  Cover and let rise in a warm spot for 12 hours, or up to 24 hours.

Here's the post-rising picture: Oops.  Not there.  Well, carry on.  But suffice it to say that it was very stringy (so don't be alarmed), smelled delightful, and had the most radical bubbles.  Sweet, kitchen chemistry in action.

Also missing are some pictures of the process.  After all, who can flour the board and such with an iPhone in their hand.  Not me, sports fans, not me.

So, reference the original blog, where she did a bang-up job of step-by-step instructions . . and I'll skip to the final steps.

After rising, this thing is a sticky mess, so flour a board (and your hands) and lightly pat it down.  Shoot to make a circle about the size of a small pizza.  Then, fold up the corners into a ball, and flip it so it's smooth side up . . . .

Cover & let this guy rise for another 2 hours.  Oh, did I forget to mention that this is kind-of time intensive?  It's the perfect bread for a Sunday night dinner.  Just start on Saturday morning.

On to the baking.  And a confession.  I totally stink at reading directions ahead.  Every time I get to this point, I hear my mother's voice telling me to read the whole recipe before I start.  Whoops.

So, Suzie bakes this in a Paula Deen Casserole Dish.  Anna bakes this in a covered cast iron dutch oven.  (Insert immature giggle at the words "dutch" plus "oven".)   Um, long pause.  I don't have either of those gizmos.

I used a Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker.   The recipe calls for you to insert the cold dish into a 500 degree oven, pre-warm it and plunk the dough ball into the warm dish.  I wasn't sure my PC Baker could handle 500 degrees.  It can't.  Thank heavens my consultant is a texter and could confirm that 450 is pushin' it.  So, 450 it was.  I pre-heated, plunked, baked for about 35 minutes, covered,  Then, lowered the temp to 350 and let it go for another 15 minutes.

The final product was round and warm and perfectly delish.

I served this warm with spaghetti.  It was not fun to cut.  I think it could be much better cooled & sliced for sandwiches.  Another genius notion . . . if split, it would make the most adorable little bread-bowls.  I think I'll try that again next week.  And finally, that two hour second rising is REALLY important.  I had to cut it short to stay on time for dinner & bed . . . and it was a mistake . . . it was still delicious but the rising would have lifted it and made it lighter.

Overall .  . . . super success.  On the up-side, very easy and the finished product is fabulous.  On the down-side, it takes forever, but (up-side again), all that time allows you to really think about it.  Thinking about your food choices is important, says this cute little Nutrionist I know.

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