Baking bread is one of the best smells on Earth, hands down. It's especially wonderful this time of year when, more than ever, you want your house to be perfectly cozy and inviting.
Unfortunately, this time of year can also be incredibly busy. Many of you are probably prepping your houses for the arrival of friends and family. If you're like me, you want a weekend full of warm memories morning, noon, and night. You want each day to start out perfectly and finish even better. This bread can help you. You through everything together, let it rise overnight, and bake it in the morning. You put out minimal effort and your guests get to wake to the smell of fresh bread. Warm memories, for sure.
No-Knead Country Bread
from King Arthur Flour
1 1/2 c. lukewarm water (110 degrees F)
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/4 c. whole-wheat flour
1/4 c. flax meal (ground flax seeds)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. instant yeast
1. In a large bowl, stir together all of the ingredients (or use a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook) to make a sticky dough. Continue to work the dough enough to incorporate all the flour, or turn 3-4 minutes in the mixer.
2. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and let it rest at room temperature at least 8 hours or overnight. Dough will bubble up and more than double in volume.
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
4. For a single loaf, choose a 14-15 inch long, lidded baker, a 9x 12 deep casserole with cover, or a 9-10 round deep baking crock or Dutch oven. To make 2 loaves, lightly grease (or line with parchment) a large baking sheet. Lightly grease chosen bakeware and place dough inside, smooth side up. If making two loaves, divide dough in half and shape each half into a loaf shape. Place on prepared baking sheet.
5. Cover and let rise at room temperature 1 hour more, until dough has become puffy and fills the pan about halfway.
6. With a sharp paring knife, make a cross-hatch pattern or 3 diagonal slashes just before baking.
7. If baking in a lidded baker or pot, place into a cold oven. Set the oven to 450 degrees F and bake 45-50 minutes. Remove lid and bake 5-15 minutes more, until bread is deep brown, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 205 degrees F.
9. For two loaves, preheat oven to 400 degrees F and bake 25-30 minutes, until bread is deep brown. Remove from oven, turn out onto a rack, and cool before slicing.