I recently got the bread cookbook called My Bread from New York baker Jim Lahey. I had wanted to get into bread baking, and found this book had a lot of really great reviews.
Since getting the book I have been making at least 1-2 loafs a week. The basic premise of Jim’s bread is a no knead approach. Essentially you mix your ingredients and make the dough. Then you let it sit for a good 12-18 hours. After letting it sit you shape the bread, and wrap it in a tea towel and let sit for another 2 hours. Finally you bake it in a cast iron pot at high temperate for an hour or so.
400g Bread Flour
1g yeast (almost any yeast will do)
Mix flour, salt and yeast in a medium sized bowl. Then add the water and mix with a wooden spoon or your hands until you have formed a somewhat sticky dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm dark location to ferment.
In about 12-18 hours (or longer) the dough should have roughly doubled in size. Take a clean tea towel, and dust with flour or any seeds/grains you want on your bread. Remove the dough from the bowl and shape into a ball, placing the ridge down. Fold up the tea towel and place in a warm dark place again for another 2 hours. In the last 30 minutes before the end of the 2 hours, heat up your oven to around 450 degrees. Place a cast iron pot with lid in the oven to heat up.
While you wait for the pot to heat up, cut out a round piece of parchment paper to fit into the pot. Once your pot has heated up for 30 minutes, remove the lid from the pot, place the parchment paper inside, then drop the dough out of the tea towel onto the parchment paper. Cover the pot with the lid and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove the lid from the pot, and continue to bake for another 25-30 minutes until the crust is nice and brown.
Remove the pot from the oven, and take the bread out and place on a rack to cool. Make sure the bread is fully cooled before slicing into it (no matter how tempting it is to try it hot).
That is the basic recipe. Once you are able to master the recipe it really opens up the possibilities of what type of bread you want to make.
I have to say I am really happy to have picked up the My Bread cookbook. While the basic recipe for Jim’s bread is pretty simple, the book goes into good detail on how the process works, and why each step is important. I really loved his enthusiasm for his craft, and his love of bread. I highly recommend this book for anyone looking for a good introduction into no knead bread making. Here are a few more photos from the loaves I have made thus far.