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WOW!! I made a double batch and used 2 c. all purpose flour, 2 c. bread flour and 2 c. wheat flour. I let it rise almost 24 hours. I didn't wrap it in a towel. I put it in a big bowl with a lid and after about 22 hours I used a spoon to dip in between the bowl edge and bread and pull the bread up and over itself. I went all around the bowl like that and then sprinkled corn meal on top of the dough. I put my turkey roasting pan with the lid and about 2 tbsp vege oil in the 425 oven and let it preheat. I then dumped the dough directly from the bowl to the hot pan and sprinkled corn meal over the dough and baked it 30 minutes covered at 425 then uncovered at 375 for another 40 minutes. This is amazing bread!! I can't stop eating it. The outside is chewy and crusty without being hard. The middle is moist and has lots of holes with good texture. Next time I'll push the dough to cover the entire bottom of the pan cause the bottom crust that was in the oil is the best! This is extremely easy and unmessy if you skip the towel step!! Thanks for sharing!!
If you like a crusty artisan bread then you have to try this one. Don't let the directions intimidate you, it is actually quite easy. The dough is wet and will appear flat but don't give up on it, it will turn out. If it is humid or raining then don't add all of the water, start with a cup and add the rest in spurts until you get a nice consistency. When the recipe calls for generous flour, it means it or else it will stick to your towel, excess flour can be brushed off after baking. Enjoy it warm!
First time I tried this I didn't realize that my active dry yeast is not the right stuff - you've got to use instant yeast. Have since modified the recipe for active dry yeast by mixing the dough with only 1 1/2 C. water and then proofing 1/2 t. of yeast in 2 T. of warm water and then adding to the dough. Also I find that the softness of the dough yields a very flat loaf when made in a large dutch oven. A smaller pan will yield a thicker loaf.
My husband sent a link to this New York Times story a long time ago. I wanted to try it right away, but my Le Creuset cookware has the black phenolic handle which can't take a high temperature in the oven. Well, I found out that you can order a nice replacement metal knob. Now that I have that, I can give this recipe a try! Hooray!!
I read about this bread in my local paper and new I would find good feedback on the Zaar. Thanks everyone -- you told me exactly what I needed to know. I never would have believed that such a beautiful artisinal loaf of bread could be so easy to achieve. The crust was perfectly chewy, the crumb nicely open, and the flavor out of this world. I used rapid rise yeast and a 4 quart clay pot and 2 tablespoons less water than called for. Now I just need to remember to start my dough a day ahead of time. Thanks for posting!
Thank you for posting this recipe as Lahey offered it. I have made this loaf a number of times and always with incredible results. I have spent a number of years trying to get the same results with more conventional means. Two months ago I succeeded with a Rose Levy Beherenbaum recipe and a lot of effort only to discover that the same results were attainable with very little effort and a minimum of time. Ironically, I found the news on Rose's web site. If you have never made a really crusty open crumb bread before, you need to try this. Finally, I would not use a 6 to 8-quart container as I prefer a taller loaf. I have doubled the recipe and successfully baked it in a Lodge 4 qt. cast iron Dutch oven (a beautiful round tall loaf with a crust to die for!). Thanks Amandochka and Jim Lahey.
This recipe is wonderful. It makes bread look like it come from a professional brick oven bakery. I cook at 475 and I have added many things to the dough. Fresh rosemary, oregano, garlic and marjoram is very good. If adding dried tomatoes or fruits reconstitute or it will take moisture from your bread. If I am making jalapeno cheese bread I add cheese in chunks because grated gets lost in the dough
I have made this recipe several times as my son sent me the link when it was in the NY Times. It is easy but it does take a long time to get the final result, but oh it is so worth the wait. I baked it in my terra-cotta baker. Needless to say it doesn't last very long in my house.
this is so so wonderful that I literally bot a bought just for it! This recipe is ridiculously easy and perfect for a somewhat lazy chef like me. My favorite is to add chopped herbs to the batter for a savory final product.
This was weird! After leaving overnight - probably about 20 hours - it hadn't risen and was very runny - almost like a Yorkshire pudding batter, we thought all was lost. Then we tried to do the tea towel thing, but it was too runny, so just to see what may happen, we decided to pour it into our Le Creusit (after greasing w/ olive oil) and going for it. OK, it was a bit dense, but the crust is to die for and it is a good bread. Then we realised that instant yeast wasn't the same as regular dried, after reading the other reviews, so next time will go on their tips and add more dried yeast and a bit less water and I think it will be a total winner. But I'm already giving 5 stars (which is something I rarely do) as the transition from what looked to be a total disaster to a good loaf of bread was incredible. It completely doesn't make any logical sense, even for a non-baker like me, but it works, Go For It!