Beautiful, Beautiful Bread!

No-knead sourdough

I  made bread people! Legitimate, edible bread! I know, I know, it took me long enough. But despite my not so successful attempts (ok, I admit, they were complete failures) I finally did it! Honestly, I am basically the happiest person in the entire world right now. I want to shout it from the rooftops….well if there actually were rooftops in Charlottetown high enough to shout from. However, that is besides the point. Did I mention, I MADE BREAD!?!?!?!?
So how did I do it? Well I must give full credit to Jules Clancy and her blog, the Stonesoup. About 5 years ago, Mark Bittman published an article in the New York Times about a recipe for no-knead bread. Everyone went absolutely crazy for it (apparently I am a little slow to catch on to things). Jules then adapted the recipe to use sourdough starter instead of dry yeast. Then I actually decided to follow a recipe for once (to my utmost capacity) and ta-da! Look how well it turned out. Maybe I should try doing that more often…
Anyways, the dough is uber simple to make. You take your starter along with water, flour and salt, mix it together and let it sit for 8 to 12 hours. I started it at 7:30 in the morning and now it’s almost 9:30 at night and I have a warm, fresh loaf of bread. It is an extremely loose, sticky dough, don’t worry that’s the idea. Instead of baking it on a pizza stone or sheet pan, the recipe calls for using a dutch oven (or any other heavy duty pot). You preheat it in a 450-500 degree oven for a minimum of 30 minutes. Then you plop the dough in (I sprinkled the bottom with flour first to avoid stickage), put the lid on and cook for 30 minutes at 450 degrees (F). This sounds odd but it allows the crust to steam and become amazingly crisp later in the cooking process. After half an hour, take the lid off, turn the heat down to 400 F and continue to bake for 15 more minutes. Out it comes, then you can take the time to admire your creation (and believe me, this could take a while…I can hardly finish this post because I keep staring over at my bread sitting on the counter!). It will even continue to crackle as it is cooling.

My starter was only as high as the green tick mark before I went to bed and this was what it looked like when I woke up in the morning. Because it doubled, I knew for a fact that it was active enough to make bread.
No-knead sourdough
The dough, before 8 to 12 hours of resting.
No-knead sourdough
No-knead sourdough
The dough, after 12 hours. Runny, sticky, somewhat disastrous looking actually. Don’t freak out though, this is the intention.
No-knead sourdough
Into the pot, remember after preheating in a 450 degree oven it is hot…I wouldn’t recommend trying to lift it up bare-handed and stick it back in the oven!
No-knead sourdough
What a beauty!
No-knead sourdough
Another angle to capture it’s magnificence.
No-knead sourdough
And another, it is just so beautiful! It almost induces tears!!!

And that’s that. You truly have to make it and see for yourself the amazingness of the entire process (yes, amazingness, that is what I said). Regardless though, I MADE BREAD, I MADE BREAD, I MADE BREAD!!!!!!!!!!

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