There was a certain phase in our married lives that the co-resident was bent upon buying a Bread Machine. His very macho Columbian Boss had nonchalantly stated that he bakes his own bread every day in his nifty bread machine. The co-resident was immensely impressed (or was trying hard to impress his boss) and insisted that we get one as well. Considering our staple diet at home is rice, I successfully steered his mind away from such frivolities using endless arguments hard logic. After a couple of years though, I wish I hadn’t thwarted his grand plans.
The reason I hate making rotis or bread or anything else that requires activating gluten, is that you need a fair bit of muscle power to knead the dough. I have taken to longingly gape at bakers FB updates and Instagram posts on how they baked a fresh loaf of bread for breakfast or how divine the house smells post the exercise. After a couple of attempts at churning out some very average dinner rolls and loaves, I all but gave up. Some people have a baker’s gift, I just had to resign myself to go to the nearest Au Bon Pain.
And then, serendipitously, I found a recipe for No-Knead Bread. Apparently all I had to do was chuck the ingredients together in a bowl and let the yeast do all the work overnight. And because the dough has all this time to ‘develop’, you get a nice crispy crust and billowy soft insides. The only crux was that I needed a Dutch Oven (Oven-safe pot/pan with a lid) to give the bread the right hot and humid climate to bake in.
Dutch Ovens cost a bomb and I haven’t really had any use for them so far. I intend to coerce the co-resident to buy me one soonly, but for now I had to improvise. So I used a baking casserole and a dome shaped lid of another casserole to achieve the results. You can also cover the baking pan with aluminum foil to create the same effect. The result was a beautiful golden crust Artisanal Bread with a chewy soft interior. I’ve been slathering butter on toasted slices and having myself a very good week.
P.S. The Bread keeps very well outside for 3-4 days. I have successfully kept it in the refrigerator for a week as well. Make sure you wrap it in cling film.