How to incorporate fresh bread baking into your super-fun, action-packed every day routine:
- Dump everything in a bowl the night before or first thing in the morning
- Go to sleep (if starting the night before), go to work, go on an adventure, go about your life
- Return to your kitchen in the early evening
- Add some flour, fold the dough over a few times, and let rest.
- After twenty minutes, repeat steps 3 and 4
- Go to the gym, go make dinner, go read a book, go for cocktails, you get the idea
- Return to your kitchen a few hours later
- Put the dough in the oven for about an hour
- Marvel at the perfect bread you have baked from scratch before heading off to bed
Yes, it’s that easy.
You will feel kind of surprised and awesome every time you cut that first slice. You will never want to buy store-bought bread again. Your house will smell like a bakery. You will tell friends and strangers all about your skills. They will be super impressed.
This week, I added cipollini onions and rosemary, and it was an epic win.
Adapted from Jim Lahey
Ingredients (makes one loaf of bread)
- 3 cups of flour
- 1/4 teaspoon yeast
- 1 tablespoon plus a one quarter teaspoon of salt
- 1 and 5/8 cups of water
- 4 cipollini onions (any small onions will do)
- 1 tablespoon of dried rosemary
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
Make the bread:
The night before or early in the morning, mix the flour, yeast, 1 tablespoon of the salt, and the water in a large bowl and stir. The dough will be sticky and will not look at all like bread dough, but it’s ok. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let rest for at least twelve hours.
After the dough has risen and small bubbles start to appear on top, dump the dough out onto a floured board.
Peel and cut the onions and cook over medium heat in a pan with the olive oil and quarter teaspoon of salt, making sure to stir occasionally.
Once the onions begin to cook, sprinkle the top of the dough a little more flour and fold it over a few times. Cover it with the plastic wrap or towel, and let it sit for another fifteen to twenty minutes.
After about fifteen minutes, the onions should be soft and golden brown. Remove them from the pan and put them into a bowl so that they begin to cool. You may want to put them in the refrigerator for a few minutes as well.
Once the onions are at room temperature, remove the wrapping from the dough. Sprinkle the dough and your hands with a little more flour so that you can work with the dough easily. Add the rosemary and the onions to the dough and, with your hands, knead the dough a few times so that they are evenly incorporated into the dough. Shape the dough into a ball, and then sprinkle more flour over the top.
Coat one side of a towel with flour and place over the ball of dough. Let the dough rest on the board for at least two more hours.
At least half an hour before you are ready to bake the bread, preheat the oven to 450 degrees and put a heavy cast iron pot into the oven.
When you are ready to bake the bread, remove the pot from the oven and slide the dough into the pot, being careful not to burn yourself because the pot will be very hot. I usually use the towel to pick up and transport the dough to the pot. The dough will look like a total disaster in the pot, and you’ll be sure that something has gone wrong. It hasn’t. Give the pot a shake or two and cook for half an hour with the lid on.
After half an hour, remove the lid and cook the bread, uncovered, for another fifteen to thirty minutes. You’ll know it is done when the crust is golden brown and delicious-looking. Whatever you don’t eat after a day or two can be frozen and toasted for another time.