As I alluded to in yesterday’s post, I’m starting some new series on the blog. Weekend Wanderlust was the first and A Year of Yeast is the second. (I’m basically holding myself accountable for creating some awesome new content because that’s how much I love you!) Anyway, for years, I have avoided any recipe that involves yeast because of the time it takes and my fear that things won’t rise and the recipe will go horribly wrong. Well, with those concerns packed away, I’m challenging myself to embrace yeast. Every other Tuesday, now through the end of the year, I will be sharing my adventure, hence a year of yeast. To start, I will be using other peoples recipes* with hopes of developing my own as I get a bit more comfortable. Sound good?
You can thank my sister-in-law for today’s recipes. A few years ago we went to an Outstanding in the Field dinner and the guest chef was Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery in New York City. My sister-in-law bought me his book, My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method, but until now I hadn’t used it.
Basically, Jim has a technique for bread baking that requires no kneading. For a bread baking novice, I figured this was the perfect place to start. His recipe for Stecca, similar to a baguette, immediately caught my eye as it was covered with tomatoes and olives. Yes, please!
The complete recipe and directions can be found below. The process is really rather simple. Combine all your ingredients.
Including the dreaded (not so much anymore) yeast.
Mix it all up. Then let it sit and rise overnight (12-18 hours).
By the next morning my dough had doubled in size.
Next, scrape it out of the bowl, fold it over a few times, and let it rise again for another two hours. (Again, detailed directions are below.)
After that, remove it from the bowl again and quarter the dough with a knife.
Stretch each quarter of dough into a long, thin baguette and place the baguettes on an oiled baking sheet.
Tuck in the olives and tomatoes, brush with olive oil, and add a little salt and / or pepper. You can also use cloves of garlic or green tomatoes. I just used what I had on hand. Be sure to tuck them in pretty good. A few of my olives and tomatoes popped out during the baking process.
Slide the pan into oven and bake for 15-20 minutes at 500 degrees F. That’s it, peeps!
Hot, delicious bread!
Admittedly, due to the dough-rising process, this recipe does take some advance planning. Here’s the thing, though: the hands-on time is minimal and the process really couldn’t be easier.
I think this was the the perfect start to my baking adventure. Now, I’m wrapping these up and sending them to my grandparents. If I don’t, I will eat all four loves in one sitting. Seriously.
Just to be clear, this is not my recipe. All the credit goes to Jim Lahey. I’m merely copying his genius.
Recipe from My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method by Jim Lahey.
3 cups (400 grams) bread flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon instant or other active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups (350 grams) cool 55-65 degree F water
Additional flour for dusting
20 pieces of any combination of the following: whole garlic cloves, whole olives, halved cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
1. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, table salt, sugar, and yeast. Add the water, and using a wooden spoon, mix until you have a wet, sticky dough (about 30 seconds). 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 (10-18 hours or 24 hours if you have a cold home).
2. 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. Fold the dough over itself two or three times and gently shape it into a somewhat flattened ball. Brush the surface of the dough with some of the olive oil and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of the coarse salt (which will gradually dissolve on the surface).
3. Grab a large bowl (large enough to hold the dough when it doubles in size – You could also use a large pot.) and brush the insides of the bowl with olive oil. Gently place the dough, seam side down into the bowl. Cover the bowl with a towel. Place in a warm, draft-free spot and let the dough rise for 1-2 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.
4. Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven (with a rack in the center) to 500 degrees F. Also, oil a 13″ x 18″ x 1″ baking sheet.
5. Cut the dough into quarters. Gently stretch each piece evenly into a long, thin, baguette shape approximately the length of the pan. Place on the pan, leaving about 1 inch between the loaves. Embed the garlic cloves, olives, or cherry tomatoes into the loaves, about five pieces per loaf. Drizzle, dab, or brush olive oil on each loaf. Sprinkle sea salt or kosher salt over each loaf. Remember to go light on the olive loaf since the olives are salty.
6. Bake for 15-25 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Cool on a pan for five minutes; then use a spatula to transfer each baguette to a rack to cool thoroughly.
Happy baking, folks!
*If you have a favorite or go-to bread recipe, please leave it in the comments. Be it salty, sweet, or something in between, I’m looking for great recipes.
This post first appeared on Inspired by Charm on 1/22/2013.