NY Times Published: November 8, 2006
Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1? hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising
Forum: Cooking and Recipes
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting( or 1 cup whole wheat/2 cups white)
? teaspoon instant yeast
1 ? tsp teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.
1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature.
2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 3 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger. 4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack. Yield: One 1?-pound loaf.
Notes from original article
The Secret of Great Bread: Let Time Do the Work
“Mr. Lahey’s method is striking on several levels. It requires no kneading. (Repeat: none.) It uses no special ingredients, equipment or techniques. It takes very little effort.
It accomplishes all of this by combining a number of unusual though not unheard of features. Most notable is that you’ll need about 24 hours to create a loaf; time does almost all the work. Mr. Lahey’s dough uses very little yeast, a quarter teaspoon (you almost never see a recipe with less than a teaspoon), and he compensates for this tiny amount by fermenting the dough very slowly. He mixes a very wet dough, about 42 percent water, which is at the extreme high end of the range that professional bakers use to create crisp crust and large, well-structured crumb, both of which are evident in this loaf.
The dough is so sticky that you couldn’t knead it if you wanted to. It is mixed in less than a minute, then sits in a covered bowl, undisturbed, for about 18 hours. It is then turned out onto a
board for 15 minutes, quickly shaped (I mean in 30 seconds), and allowed to rise again, for a couple of hours. Then it’s baked. That’s it. “
Photos from original article
1. When dough is bubbly, it is ready to be worked. 2. Fold dough once or twice; do not knead. 3. Shape it into a ball and let it rise. 4. Wheat bran flies as Jim Lahey lifts dough and drops it into a hot pot. 5. After baking, the crusty result.