I stumbled onto the recipe at Simply So Good, which is an adaptation of the original recipe by Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery. A simple online search shows this recipe has been published over and over and over again (where have I been?!)... but if you haven't run into it either, here it is... Bon appétit!
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 cups water
Heat-safe pot with a lid
Rubber spatula (optional)
Parchment paper (optional)
In a large mixing bowl mix together the flour, salt and yeast. Incorporate the water. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 12-18 hours at room temperature. After the dough rests, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. When it reaches that temperature, place your pot with the lid in the oven and pre-heat the pot for 30 minutes. While the pot is pre-heating, place the dough on a floured surface and form into a circle. Cover with plastic wrap while the pot continues to heat. Remove the pot from the oven and place the dough in the pot, cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes uncovered. Remove bread from the oven and allow to cool (or dive right in!)
- I use a 5 1/2 quart Le Creuset cast iron pot, but any heat-safe pot with a lid will work (i.e. Pyrex, Stainless steel, clay pot, etc).
- If you don't have rapid rise yeast, regular yeast will work but it needs to be activated.
- Mixing the dough: my first loaf came out beautifully, but my husband made one small change to our second loaf to try and make the dough more "airy". Instead of just mixing the water with the dry ingredients, he used a whisk and "whipped" the water into the flour mix a little bit at a time to allow more air into the mix.
- The best way to keep the dough from sticking to the pot is to form the loaf on a sheet of parchment paper and lift the dough into the pan using the sides of the parchment. You can leave the paper in the pan. I cut any of the paper sticking out of the pot before putting on the lid. When the bread is done cooking, just lift the sides of the parchment out of the pan. The pot comes out pristine, no clean up at all!
- When handling the dough after it has rested for 12-18 hours, try to manipulate it as little as possible when shaping it into a ball before putting it into the pot (this will help from creating a flat dense loaf).
- I use a spatula to move the dough from the bowl to the parchment paper. It comes away fairly easily and you end up with no sticky fingers.
For extensive reader tips, Simply So Good has hundreds to pore over.