“The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight” – M. F. K. Fisher
I couldn’t say that I am a bread person, but surely I can admit that I have a big love for smells. There is nothing better than the smell of a good bread filling my nostrils. This is why sometimes I feel that winter wins the eternal battle with summer, since winter is most convenient for baking. You see, I live in Greece where during the hot days of summer I cannot even imagine turning on the oven due to the high temperature.
Below you can find a super easy to make recipe for bread that only takes 5 minutes and no kneading.
• 650 g. lukewarm water• 8 gr dry yeast • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt • 1 tablespoon sugar • 600 gr flour for all uses • 300 gr wholemeal flour
In a large bowl, dump in the water and add the yeast and salt. Since we are mixing in the flour so quickly it doesn’t matter that the salt and yeast are thrown in together.
Dump in the flour all at once and stir with a long handled wooden spoon. Stir it until all of the flour is incorporated into the dough, as you can see it will be a wet rough dough. Put the lid on the container, but do not snap it shut. You want the gases from the yeast to escape. Allow the dough to sit at room temperature for about 2 hours to rise. When you first mix the dough it will not occupy much of the container. But, after the initial 2 hour rise it will pretty much fill it. The dough will be flat on the top and some of the bubbles may even appear to be popping.
The dough can be used right after the initial 2 hour rise, but it is much easier to handle when it is chilled. It is intended for refrigeration and use over the next two weeks, ready for you anytime. The flavor will deepen over that time, developing sourdough characteristics. The next day when you pull the dough out of the refrigerator you will notice that it has collapsed and this is totally normal for our dough. It will never rise up again in the container.
Let the dough rest for at least 40 minutes, (although letting it go 60 or even 90 minutes will give you a more open hole structure in the interior of the loaf. This may also improve the look of your loaf and prevent it from splitting on the bottom.)
Preheat the oven to 190 °C degrees with a baking sheet on the center rack, with a metal large baking pan with boiling water, which will be used to produce steam.
Cut the loaf with 1/4-inch slashes using a serrated knife, slide the loaf into the oven and add 3-4 cups of hot water to the baking pan. I have also spread oatmeal on the top after spraying the loaf with water. Bake the bread for 40-50 minutes or until a deep brown color.
Allow the loaf to cool on a rack until it is room temperature (around 20-30 minutes). If you cut into a loaf before it is cooled you will have a tough crust and a gummy interior. I know, it is very hard to wait, but believe you will be happy you did! Be patient!