Imagine your kitchen filled with the aroma of freshly baked bread that is crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy inside. You too can do it yourself without purchasing a bread maker. The best part is that this bread recipe uses no oil or sugar, much healthier than store bought bread filled with sugar, oil and preservatives.
Generally, bread making requires skill in kneading. The trick to making this bread is let "time" does all the kneading for you. It only takes 5 mins to measure and mix the flour, then you let the yeast does its job over the next 12 hours. Some called it the “no knead bread” but I find rolling and tucking the dough quite fun.
In this video, I show you two ways of baking the bread. First, I use the Cuisinart steam oven which is very popular in North America. It has a bread setting which sprays steam on the dough. The second method is to use a cast iron pot like Le Creuset or Staub (with metal knob), both very popular in Asia. Heating a cast iron pot inside your regular oven creates a steam oven effect; ideal for bread baking. If you don't have a cast iron pot, use a clay pot with a heavy lid that is oven safe.
2 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
11/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp active dry yeast
11/2 cup of warm water
1 piece of parchment paper
Mix flour and salt in a big container.
Put yeast into warm water (or room temperature water)
Pour yeast water mixture into flour and mix well until flour is hydrated. That means, no loose flour left in the container. Add a little water if there’s still dry flour. Just a tiny bit.
Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit on the kitchen counter overnight for roughly 12 hours (not the fridge)
After 12 hours, the dough should triple in size. The texture of the dough is wet with bubbles.
Lightly flour the counter top and scoop out the dough.
Flour your hands and gently fold the dough towards yourself.
Shape the dough into a ball by tucking the dough until the surface is smooth. Then stop.
Put the ball of dough on a piece of parchment paper and put it back into the container. If you don't have time to tuck the dough, just pick up the dough and put it on the parchment paper. When baked, the bread may not look round but will still taste amazing.
Let the dough sit on the countertop for 1.5 hours.
Preheat the oven at 450 F with the cast iron pot and lid inside the oven.
After 1.5 hours to 2 hours, the dough should have doubled in size. At this time your cast iron pot is super hot. Lift the two corners of the parchment paper and lower the dough into the cast iron pot.
Snip the dough with a pair of scissors to allow the dough to rise even more in the oven. Cover the pot tightly - remember you're creating a steam oven environment, so don't let steam escape.
Bake for 25 mins. Remove the cast iron lid and bake for another 3 to 5 mins depending on how crunchy you want the crust to be.
When this bread is freshly baked, it is delicious as is. My husband likes to serve it with real butter which I forbid. I prefer olive oil with a good quality balsamic vinegar. Peanut butter and jam, in moderation, are also our favorites.
The disadvantage of this bread is that it doesn't keep well; at a maximum of 2 days. You can put it in the fridge and toast it the next day and it still tastes amazing. On the third day, it will be dry and hard.
If this loaf is too big for you, halve the dough after the 12 hours rise, put it in the fridge and cover it well. Take it out of the fridge the next day, roll and bake it just like what I showed you above.
After you’ve tasted fresh bread it is difficult to go back to store bought bread. Give it a try. My cousin was successful in her first attempt and she immediately repeated her success the next day.