I wish I could do nothing else but bake and cook to my heart’s content all day long. But alas, I do not get paid to do so, nor do I have the time right now that I would like to devote to this craft. So in the meantime, I am exploring different baking recipes that are easy to accomplish on a regular week night and that are of equal value to those very hands-on and involved recipes. Make no mistake, this bread is the real deal — light and airy and supremely crusty (in the way only bread can be).
This is one of those two day bread recipes that takes some minimal preparation — of the mental and physical sort. The good thing is that it doesn’t involve any kneading or even the use of a stand mixer. The involvement in Day 1 takes about 5 minutes tops. I think we can all handle that!
The first step was a bit strange to me: you don’t mix the yeast with water and let it sit for five minutes as you would in usual bread recipes. You mix the yeast together with the flour, salt, and water and let it sit overnight. It’s not the prettiest blob of dough (well it wasn’t really even a blob), and I was extremely skeptical that it would do anything at all! Trust the recipe. It doesn’t make a huge loaf, but the dough does rise and is a beautiful texture.
The roasted garlic “mash” mixed into the dough is just glorious and creates the most fragrant flavors in the bread. Note: do not be tempted to add more salt to the dough–it is not needed!
The loaf is then cooked in a Dutch oven, and it creates the most glorious crust. Serve with a big bowl of spaghetti, and I dare you to make it last until the next day.
NO-KNEAD GARLIC BREAD
from Molly on the Range by Molly Yeh
makes 1 loaf
about 4 1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/3 cups warm water
3 heads garlic
about 1 tablespoon olive oil
In a large bowl, combine 3 cups of flour, the yeast, and salt. Stir in the water until combined. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let it rise overnight at room temperature, 12-24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
Cut the tops off of the garlic heads to expose the tops of the cloves and drizzle about 1 teaspoon of olive oil over the top of each to cover the exposed parts of the cloves. Wrap each head individually in foil and bake until a fork pokes easily into the cloves, about 45 minutes. When they’re cool enough to handle, squeeze all of the cloves into a medium bowl and mash them up.
Drop dollops of the garlic over the dough in the bowl and use a spatula to fold it into the dough so that it gets evenly distributed.
Place a large pice of parchment paper on a work surface and lay down a thick layer of flour, 1/2 to 3/4 cup. Scrape the dough onto the floured surface and use heavily floured hands to shape it into a roundish blob. Sprinkle the top with another thick layer of flour, coat a piece of plastic wrap with cooking spray and cover the dough blob. Let it sit on the parchment paper for another 1 1/2 hours.
During the last 30 minutes of sitting time, preheat the oven to 450ºF, with a lidded Dutch oven in it.
Carefully remove the dutch oven from the oven and remove the lid. Remove the plastic wrap from the dough and use the parchment paper to lift it up and lower it into the dutch oven (correct, the parchment paper goes in too).Trim any excess edges from the paper (a little overhang is fine) and cover the Dutch oven. Stick it into the oven and bake for 30 minutes, remove the lid and bake until nicely browned on top, another 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove it to a wire rack, let it cool for about 30 minutes, and then rip some off and dunk it into a bowl of soup.