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Copyright  2001 - 2020   Sandra Laux
No-Knead Crusty Bread

(Makes 3 to 4 loaves, depending on size)
No-Knead Crusty White Bread
Ingredients:

7-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups warm water ( about 105⁰ to 110⁰ F)
1 tablespoon salt
1-1/2 tablespoons instant or dry active yeast or (2 yeast packets)

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl or large (6-quart) food safe container. Stir everything together with a big spoon.  You simply want all the ingredients to come together into a rough dough. The dough will not be smooth and elastic like a typical bread dough ... but it's ok.  

Next, you're going to let the dough rise.  The dough is going to rise a lot, so be sure that your container or bowl is at least a 6 to 8-quart capacity.  There's no need to grease the bowl. So if you mixed it in a large container, you can leave it in that.  Cover the bowl or container with a lid or piece of plastic wrap.  Let the dough rise at room temperature for 2 hours.  Then refrigerate it for at least 2 hours or for up to 7 days.  (yes, you read that right, 7 days!)  The longer you keep it in the refrigerator the tangier it will get.  By 7 days it will taste like sourdough.  Over the course of the first days, it will rise and fall ... that's ok.

When you're ready to make the bread, sprinkle the top of the dough with a little flour; this will make it easier to pull off a piece of dough.  Grease your hands and pull off 1/4 to 1/3 of the dough. (Take 1/4 if you plan on making 4 loaves and 1/3 for 3 loaves.)  It will be about the size of a softball or large grapefruit.

Transfer the sticky dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into a ball or log.  It doesn't need to be perfect, so don't fuss with it.

If you are going to bake the bread on a baking/pizza stone, place the loaf on a piece of parchment paper.  If you are going to bake the bread on a baking sheet, line the pan with parchment paper or grease the pan. Place the loaf on the parchment paper or baking sheet. Cover with a kitchen towel.  Let the loaf warm to room temperature to rise.  It should take about 1 hour or a little longer.  It won't rise upward that much, just expand slightly . 

While the loaf is resting, preheat the oven to 450⁰ F.  If you are using a baking stone, place it on the middle rack while the oven heats.  Place a shallow metal or cast iron pan on the lowest oven rack.  When you're ready to bake, take a sharp knife and slash the top of the bread with 2 or 3 slits about 1/2-ich deep.  The bread may deflate a bit, but that's ok. Have 1 cup of hot water ready to go.

Place the bread in the oven - on the baking stone or on the baking sheet.  Carefully pour the hot water into the shallow pan on the lower rack. Close the oven door quickly to contain the heat.

Bake the bread for 25 to 35 minutes, or until deep golden brown.  Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.  I like to brush the warm bread with a bit of olive oil to give it a shine, but this step is not necessary.  Store leftover bread in a plastic bag or storage container at room temperature.
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If you've ever attempted to make bread before and thought, "Wow, this is too much work", you have got to try bread making again using this recipe.  You literally stir the 4 ingredients together in a bowl, wait for the dough to rise, shape it into a loaf and bake it ... that's it! 

Don't let the length of the directions intimidate you.  A lot of it is my notes to guide you along.  The actual combining of the ingredients takes about 5 minutes, the minimum rise time is 4 hours and then about 30 minutes of baking time.  And if you don;t want to bake 3 or 4 loaves today, just store the dough in the refirgerator for up to 7 days!  You can aso easily cut the recipe in half if you just want to try it the first time.
We use a baking/pizza stone in the oven to bake our bread but you can also use a baking sheet.  
ITALIAN BREAD RECIPES > NO-KNEAD CRUSTY BREAD
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WHY IT'S IMPORTANT TO ADD STEAM WHEN BAKING BREAD
Steam helps keep the crust soft during the first five or ten minutes so the loaf can get that final expansion. Steam also helps produce a really crisp crust. When the surface of the dough reaches 180°F, the starches in the slowly forming crust start absorbing moisture. The steam that has settled on the surface of the bread also dissolves sugars in the dough. As the bread stops expanding and the steam begins to evaporate, the sugars are left behind to caramelize and create a crispy crust.

There are several different methods for getting steam inside your oven and the trick is always doing it without losing too much heat. Personally, we prefer to set a metal pan on the oven floor and let it preheat along with the oven. When the time comes, we slide the loaves in and then we either quickly pour a cup of very hot tap water into the pan or toss in a handful of ice cubes. Some bakers advocate using a spritzer bottle to spray a mist of water into the oven, but we feel that this lets out too much heat and doesn’t really generate the same amount of steam as using a pan with water or ice cubes.
ARE YOU A PIZZA LOVER?
A cute novelty clock that's sure to be noticed in your kitchen or place of business.  It is crafted of wood, has big easy-to-read numbers a silent ticking device.
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