A few months ago a fellow food blogger, Jerry James Stone, started a movement called Three Loaves. People sign up, (you can too by clicking the link) get a recipe and make three loaves of bread, one for a friend, one for someone in need and one for yourself. I signed up to do it and to also contribute a recipe. This month my recipe will be featured. I decided to use my no knead bread recipe and adapt it to the cause. The addition of the vinegar and beer gives you a nice sour dough flavor without the time and work of a starter. Doubling the recipe gave me 3 one pound loaves. The recipe below has been doubled so no math is involved or been harmed. Problem is, it is so good it is gone before you know it. Don’t worry, it mixes up easily and is less work than you think. I only have 2 loaf pans, so I baked them up while the third one patiently waited. I let the oven cool, then formed the last loaf and baked it.
Don’t be intimidated by the length of the instructions, I like to give details. The hardest thing about the recipe is getting the liquids up to temperature. It took me less than 20 minutes to weigh, mix up and put everything away. Having a scale makes it very easy. If you do not have a scale, make sure you fluff the flour in the bag before measuring, scoop, then level off the top with the back of a knife. This will give you a more accurate measurement. Remember this whenever you bake.
Three Loaves of No Knead Bread
6 C bread flour (1lb 14oz)
1 tsp rapid rise (or instant) yeast
1 T salt
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
2 T malt or red wine vinegar
1/2 C beer (preferably a wheat beer, nothing hoppy)
Hot Water to make 3 Cups (will be a bit over 2 cups)
Set aside about 1 cup of the flour. Combine the remaining flour & yeast. Mix well. Combine the salt and remaining ingredients in a 4 cup measure. This way the salt is dissolved and mixed in evenly. (The beer will really foam when it hits the salt, just stir.) Using an instant read thermometer, check the temperature. You want it between 125° – 130°F. Heat or cool the mixture until it is that temperature.
I use my insta-hot and leave out a bit of water, adding an ice cube or more hot water as necessary. If you don’t have one you can microwave it if it is too cool. Pour liquid mixture into flour mixture and stir until combined. Gradually add in the remaining flour.
Dough will be very soft & sticky. Drizzle a bit of oil over the top. Cover and set aside.
After about 7-8 hours the dough should have more than doubled in size & have lots of bubbles trying to get through the top of the dough. You can bake it now. If that timing does not work for you, after an hour or three, you can put it in the fridge for up to three days, just bring it back to room temp and/or let it finish rising before continuing.
Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on the bottom of 3 loaf pans. Sprinkle cornmeal on top of the oil. Divide the dough into 3 pieces. They will each weigh about 1 lb 1 oz. Using wet hands, form it into a rough loaf by pulling the dough towards the bottom and place them in the pans. Set aside. Spend about 10 – 20 minutes looking for the scissors. Make 3 cuts on the top of the bread, about 1/2″ deep. Wet your hand and flick a little extra water on top.
Using foil, tightly wrap the pans completely. This is really important. You do not want any moisture to escape. Set the temp to 425°F and put the bread in the cold oven. Set the timer for for 35 minutes. Relax. After the 35 minutes, carefully open the foil (remembering it is hot) and check the bread.
The top should be set. It will not be brown. If it is not set, close up the foil and let it bake another 5-10 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for 20 -30 more minutes or until the bread is brown and crispy and you are being driven insane by the aromas.
If you like your bread extra crispy, at 20 minutes, carefully remove the breads from the pans and put back on the rack in the oven for another 5-10 minutes. Carefully remove from the oven, put the bread on a rack and allow to cool another 30 minutes. (sorry, I know it smells wonderful, but if you cut it right out of the oven it will be all gelatinous inside) Remain calm.
Take the butter out of the fridge. Mix up some olive oil, herbs, pepper and Parmesan to dip the bread in when it is cool. Use a serrated knife to cut. Enjoy. Aren’t you glad you waited?
In the original recipe, I baked the bread in a cast iron dutch oven.
Notes: Additions like pitted calamata olives, chopped fresh rosemary or whatever can be mixed into the dough while you are forming the loaves. Sometimes I use a garlic olive oil in place of the evoo.