First, gather your very frugal, cheap ingredients.
Flour, water, kosher salt, yeast.
And speaking of frugal, see this…..
NOT FRUGAL–EXPENSIVE! ( Found at any grocery store. Approximately $1.39 for a ¾ oz. packet = $1.85 per oz which = $29.60 per pound!!!) I know, right?! Crazy!
STILL TOO EXPENSIVE! (Again, found at most stores. $5.49 for this 4 oz jar = $1.37 per oz which = $21.92 per pound! A little better, but seriously? Even the store brand in the jar is not a good bargain.
Now, see this……..
SUPER AWESOME FRUGAL DEAL! (I got my 16 oz bag at Gordon Foods Service. I paid $2.79 for this 1 pound bag of yeast = approximately $0.17 per oz) YAY!!!Saf-Instant Yeast!
Okay, that was your lesson in price comparison shopping. Let’s move on, shall we?
Grab a large bowl or a large container of some sort to mix your bread in.
Put 1 ½ cups of very warm water into your bowl or container.
Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of yeast over the water and give a gentle stir. I like to sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of sugar in with the yeast and water, but it’s not necessary. Let rest for about 5 minutes.The photo below is what it will look like if you sprinkle the sugar in. Otherwise, it won’t be this frothy.
Now, dump in 3 cups of flour, and 1 Tablespoon of Kosher salt. (I buy it at Kroger in box for just a couple bucks. Found in the baking aisle with the regular table salt)
Stir until everything is combined. NO KNEADING necessary. Yippee! Your dough will look wet and be a bit sticky.
Now, cover the bowl lightly with some plastic wrap. If you’re using a container with a lid, just lay the lid on top. Don’t seal it.The dough needs to rise or rest for at least two hours. I like to start mine in the morning and just leave it on the counter all day then bake it in the afternoon. If you can’t bake your bread the day you mix it due to unforeseen circumstances that would keep you from this lovely deliciousness, then just pop it in the fridge and bake it tomorrow.
After a few hours it should look like this:
Prepare to bake your bread! If you have a stone put it in the middle rack of your oven and place a broiler pan on the rack underneath. You’ll be pouring 1 cup of water into broiler pan later. (No stone? No worries! I will describe another way to bake your bread without a stone at the end of this tutorial.) Turn oven to 450* and allow stone and broiler pan to heat while you form and rest your dough. And don’t worry, even if your oven isn’t as dirty as mine, I promise your bread will still turn out great!
Now, if you have a pizza peel, great! Dust it with cornmeal and it will be ready for you to place your shaped dough on it. If not, use a cookie sheet that has no edges like the one in the picture below. Or you can use a regular cookie sheet and turn it bottom up. Put a piece of parchment big enough to place your shaped dough on. It will expand some as it rises but not a lot. This is going to be our make-shift pizza peel. See? No edges.
We interrupt our regularly scheduled tutorial to bring you another frugal tip. The parchment paper in the picture above is called Quilon Coated Baking Sheets. It is sold in sheets twice the size of the one pictured. I cut my sheet in half for my bread dough. You can read the particulars from the photo. I buy this at Gordon Food Service and use it every time I bake cookies or breads. The last time I purchased mine, I think it was $3.99 for 50 large sheets, which means I can bake 100 loaves of bread or 100 sheets of cookies. Yay for Quilon!
Moving on…..transfer your dough to a floured surface.
Sprinkle extra flour on top of dough.
Pick up your lightly floured dough and turn it in a counter-clockwise direction in your hands as you gently pull down on the dough forming a round loaf.
You can either bake it in this rounded shape, or you can gently form the dough to look like this:
Transfer your dough to the pizza peel or cookie sheet and allow to rest for about 20-30 minutes. Once the dough has rested, use a bread knife to cut a few shallow, diagonal slashes across top of loaf. Sorry, I didn’t take a picture of this step because I forgot to do it. No worries though. Bread still comes out great.
Get a measuring cup filled with 1 cup of water ready and set it by stove.
Slide your bread off the peel or cookie sheet, along with parchment paper onto your preheated stone. (Directly onto stone if you are using a pizza peel dusted with cornmeal.)
Pour water into broiler pan and shut oven door.
Someday I will clean my oven…ooor noooot.
Bake for about 25 minutes or so.
This is what your bread will look like if you forget to slash the top.
Clearly it is not as attractive as this:
But it still tastes amazing! We make this about 4 days a week.
It’s best if you can wait for the bread to cool before slicing. If you try to slice it while it is still warm it mooshes the loaf and doesn’t look as attractive. Of course, your tummy will never know the difference. Mine doesn’t.
Method #2: Let’s say you don’t have a baking stone or you’re out of parchment paper, or maybe you don’t have a broiler pan and you don’t feel like messing with the whole water thing anyway, or perhaps you forgot to preheat the stone, well, here is another method.
Grease a casserole dish or dutch oven and let the dough rest in it for the 20-30 minutes. You’d may want to lightly grease or spray the inside of the lid as well. After you slash the top of the dough, put the lid on the casserole dish or dutch oven and pop it into your preheated oven.
I’ve done this at 500* or at 450*. Just watch your bread after 25 minutes and take it out when you think it is finished as the size of the casserole dish will make a difference in your baking time. I’ve used the small round one pictured above and it increased my baking time because the loaf was much thicker (taller). Ohhh…I bet that one would make a great bread bowl. Anyway………….
I hope you will try this bread. It really is easy once you’ve been through the steps. A tutorial with pictures makes it seem long and complicated, but it truly is quite easy and best of all….cheap.
What is your favorite bread recipe?
No-Knead Crusty Bread
1 ½ Cups of very warm water
1 Tablespoon instant yeast
1 Tablespoon Kosher salt
3 Cups flour
Put 1 ½ cups of very warm water into a large bowl or container.
Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of yeast over the water and give a gentle stir.
Let rest for about 5 minutes.
Add 3 cups of flour, and 1 Tablespoon of Kosher salt.
Stir until everything is combined. NO KNEADING necessary.
Your dough will look wet and be a bit sticky.
Cover the bowl lightly with some plastic wrap and let rest for at least 2 hours.
Place baking stone on middle rack and a broiler pan on lower rack of oven and allow to heat at 450* while you form and rest your dough.
Transfer dough to floured surface and sprinkle top of dough with a little extra flour for easier handling. Shape the dough into either a round or oblong loaf. Place on pizza peel dusted with cornmeal or cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Let rest for 20-30 minutes. With a serrated knife cut a few slashes across dough.
Slide dough off of pizza peel or cookie sheet along with the parchment paper onto the hot stone.
Pour 1 Cup of cold water into the broiler pan and close the oven door. Bake approximately 25 minutes.
Cool and slice.
This recipe is adapted from the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day cookbook