Courtesy of America’s Test Kitchens
Try this amazing recipe from America’s Test Kitchen for an easy, yet delicious bread that everyone is sure to love. It enables you to avoid lengthy and tiresome kneading by allowing 8 to 18 hours for the bread dough to sit. This gives the dough time to naturally develop gluten— the key to any great bread.
After that, just 15 seconds of kneading does the trick. For flavor, this clever recipe uses a touch of vinegar for tang and lager beer for extra yeastiness. Baking the bread in a covered pot creates steam which gives the bread an open springy interior and finishing it uncovered gives it a beautifully browned crust.
(makes 1 loaf)
3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1/4 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
3/4 cup water, room temperature
1/2 cup mild beer, such as Budweiser, room temperature
1 tablespoon white vinegar
- Whisk flour, salt, and yeast together in a large bowl. Whisk water, beer, and vinegar together in a 4-cup liquid measuring cup. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold water mixture into flour mixture, scraping up dry flour from the bottom of the bowl, until dough starts to form and no dry flour remains. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for at least 8 hours or up to 18 hours.
- Lay 18 by 12-inch sheet of parchment paper on the counter and lightly spray with vegetable oil spray. Transfer dough to a lightly floured counter and knead by hand until smooth and elastic, about 1 minute.
- Shape dough into a ball by pulling edges into the middle, then transfer seam side down to the center of prepared parchment.
Using parchment as a sling, gently lower loaf into a Dutch oven (let any excess parchment hang over pot edge). Cover tightly with plastic and let rise until the loaf has doubled in size and dough springs back minimally when poked gently with your knuckle, 1ó to 2 hours.
Adjust oven rack to the middle position. Using a sharp paring knife or single-edge razor blade, make two 5-inch-long, ó-inch-deep slashes with swift, fluid motion along the top of the loaf to form a cross. Cover pot and place in oven. Turn oven to 425 degrees and bake the loaf for 30 minutes (start timing as soon as bread goes in the oven).
TIP: Start the 30-minute timer as soon as you put the bread in the cold oven; don’t wait until the oven has preheated to start the timer or the bread will burn.
Remove lid and continue to bake until loaf is deep golden brown and registers 205 to 210 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes. Using parchment sling, remove loaf from pot and transfer to wire rack; discard parchment. Let cool completely, about 3 hours, before serving.
This bread is best eaten the day it is baked, but it can be wrapped in foil and stored for up to 2 days. It also freezes well. Recrisp it in the oven before serving