Breads & Pastries

Magic Bread

3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 scant tablespoon salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed
In a large bowl, combine yeast, flour and salt. Add 1 5/8 cup tepid water and stir until blended; dough will be very sticky. Cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at room temperature for at least 12 hours, preferably 18 hours. Dough is ready when surface is dotted with bubbles and gluten is well developed.
Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle with a little more flour and fold it over itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface and to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel with flour (I use a plastic cutting mat), wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam-side down on towel (or mat) and dust with more flour. Cover with another cotton towel or plastic wrap and let rise for 2-3 hours. When ready dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

At least half an hour before dough is ready, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 4-6 quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it preheats.  When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel or mat and turn dough over into pot. It will look like a mess but that is OK. Shake pan once or twice to make sure that dough is evenly distributed. It will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15-30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Remove from oven, invert pan and cool on bread rack.

Lydia Lance

Wasilla, Alaska

This bread is delicious. It is especially good with soups. You can add ingredients to this bread, also. Sautéed onion, spices, jalapeños…I have tried it all and it is all good. This bread looks like it will be a total mess, but it turns out nice every time!

– Lydia

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