5-hour bread

Originally uploaded by ted_major

5-Hour Bread

Lately, there have been a number of “no-knead” bread recipes that make wonderful loaves, but unfortunately take 20 hours or more to make. What’s so hard about kneading? I’ve combined some aspects of various no-knead recipes (such as the recent “almost no-knead bread” from Cook’s Illustrated,) and combined them with a bit of kneading to cut the time down to 5 hours—start the bread after lunch, and it will be ready for dinner.

• ¾ cup hot water
• ¼ cup light lager beer
• 1 Tbs white vinegar
• 2 tsp dried yeast (or 1 package)
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• ½ tsp salt
• ½ tsp sugar

Combine water, beer, vinegar, yeast, and sugar in a large bowl, whisking to dissolve. Add flour and then salt. Mix until a dough forms, then turn onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 5 mins. Return to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise about 2 hours at room temperature.

When dough has risen, turn onto a lightly floured work surface and knead 10 to 15 times. Form into a round loaf. Line a skillet with parchment paper sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, and place loaf on parchment to rise. Spray dough with non-stick cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise about another 2 hours.

Thirty minutes before bread has finished rising, place a cast-iron dutch oven with lid into the oven and preheat to 500F. When oven has heated, uncover dough, make decorative slashes in top of loaf, and sprinkle with flour. Remove dutch oven from from the oven and take off the lid. Using the parchment paper, lift to loaf and gently place in dutch oven, parchment and all. Return the lid to the dutch oven.

Return dutch oven to the oven, and reduce heat to 425F. Bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 20 to 30 minutes.