I have been experiencing a real love/hate thing with Pinterest lately. While I love getting lost in it when I have nothing better to do with my time, some of the pins really aggravate me to the point of wanting to throw my laptop across the room. However, I very recently came across a recipe on Pinterest that intrigued me, and so I pinned it. I think I have probably actually tried about 5% of the pins i've ever pinned, but this one will stick around in my permanent baking rounds.
The pin linked to a website called Simply So Good, and the recipe apparently was printed in the New York Times at some point, but actually comes from a guy named Jim Lahey, of Sullivan Street Bakery. I don't know you, Jim, but you are my new hero.
If you work long hours, or are a busy parent, or hate taking the time to knead bread, or love having fresh baked bread on hand at any given time but don't want to purchase a bread maker, or any combination of these situations, then this recipe will be a game changer. I linked to it above, but if your'e lazy and don't feel like clicking on it and opening a new window, here's what you do:
Mix 3 cups of flour, 1 3/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp active dry yeast in a large bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups of water, stir together to create a "shaggy" dough, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let it sit on your counter for 12-18 hours. After that time has passed, roll the (very sticky) dough onto a heavily floured surface, form into a round, and then drop it into a cast iron pot that has been preheated for 30 minutes in a 450 degree oven. I think it goes without saying, but the pot will be VERY HOT so use good oven mitts (a kitchen towel will not suffice). Then put a lid on the pot and cook at 450 for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and cook for another 15 minutes. Remove from the pot and let cool.
This is what it will look like:
This bread has a firm crust and a chewy inside and tastes reminiscent of Sourdough bread. You seriously can't mess it up (unless you overcook it, I think). The absolute best thing about this recipe is that you can add different ingredients to invent your very own bread flavors. I added chopped garlic, parmesan, thyme and rosemary to the dry ingredients before adding the water and mixing it together. It was delicious. And just in case any of my family and friends were wondering, EVERYONE GETS BREAD FOR CHRISTMAS.