April 19, 2007


Filed under: analog — mhoye @ 12:50 pm

This is “adapted” from this, which is to say “I still thought that was too much effort”. You’ll need a medium-sized oven-friendly pot (ceramic, enameled or cast-iron).

Take three cups of flour, a quarter-teaspoon of instant yeast and one and a half teaspoons of salt. Put it all in a bowl and stir it up. Put a little more than one and a half cups of water in with it, and stir that up until it’s pretty much evenly goopy. Cover the bowl loosely, with a plastic bag, or something, and set it aside.

This takes about three minutes; it should be the last thing you do before you go to bed at night, so go to bed. In the morning, the very first thing you do when you wake up should be to ignore it completely and go about your day as usual.

I get home about an hour and a half before dinner so, if your day is anything like mine, when you get in the door walk straight to your oven, put the aforementioned pot into it and crank it up to 450 (f). We’re heating the pot up here, yes, not the dough yet. Wait twenty minutes or so for the pot to hit that 450 mark, too, then take it out and put it on the stove top.

Sprinkle a handful of flour around the bottom of the pot, and then pour the dough out of the bowl it’s in and into that pot. A spatula helps, and sprinkle a little flour on the top as well. Put it back in the oven with a lid on it for half an hour, then take the lid off and wait fifteen more minutes.

If it’s not quite nicely browned at that point you can wait a little longer, but not much longer, five minutes or so. Take it out and give it a shake; the bread should be loose in the pan, so turn the careful-it’s-super-hot pot upside down over a cutting board or cooling rack.

Let cool for ten to fifteen minutes, serve.

Total investment of your attention span, approximately eight minutes spread out over two days. Result: fresh homemade bread, which is really great stuff to have around.

Update: as requested, somewhat less narrative and more attachable-to-the-fridge-with-a-magnet printable instructions here.


  1. I’ve made a few loaves of this already, and here’s what I have to say:

    * the hardest part was finding a suitable pot. I finally bought one on sale at Macy’s for $30

    * The flavor hasn’t been great, although the appearance is, and the texture is pretty good.

    Comment by me — April 19, 2007 @ 2:06 pm

  2. I haven’t tried expanding this recipe with anything, but I imagine that with herbs of some kind it would make a nice savory crusty-bread. As for the container, I was very lucky to be given a quite nice Emile Henry ceramic bowl with a lid for my wedding, which works extremely well.

    Comment by Mike Hoye — April 19, 2007 @ 2:38 pm

  3. I’ll have to try this. I have more than a few Corningwear square pots collected obsessively from various garage sales and thrift stores. They are oven safe, come with glass lids, and sound about right (Even if my loaf will come out sort of cubic).

    Any idea how big a “medium” pot is? 1.5L? 2L?

    Comment by Jerril — April 19, 2007 @ 3:15 pm

  4. Well, the original recipe calls for something that holds, six-to-eight quarts, but aside from the “cups” and “degrees farenheight” that are written on all of my cooking apparatus, I have no idea how big these bizarre imperial measurements are. Can you fit twelve quarts into a hogshead, or is that sixteen? How far will a car go on a quart of gas? A furlong? 48 rods? Or is that chains? I can never tell.

    Your gloop basically doubles in size, and there’s about four cups of it when you start and then rises in the oven… Christ, I don’t know. You want your bowl to be about a third full when you’re done mixing the gloop, and you want your pot to be about half-full when you’re baking it. You don’t want it to be close to full, but if it’s more empty, that’s OK, it’s going to be flatter, wider bread.

    Comment by Mike Hoye — April 19, 2007 @ 3:34 pm

  5. 4 cups to a quart, and a quart is just about a litre. After that, you’re on your own.

    A 6-8 quart pot seems a little excessive, but the standard Corningware pot that’s ~9″ ‘square’ and about 5-6″ deep should hold about 4 litres/quarts. I’d say that *should* be big enough (I hope so, anyway, since that’s the size I have at home and intend to try the recipe in – if my apartment burns down, we’ll know it was because the pot was too small).

    Comment by Corey — April 19, 2007 @ 4:30 pm

  6. Aha! Thanks for the replies everyone, I think I now know what a “medium” pot looks like (or something in that general vicinity). I’ve got one of those, too. Excellent.

    Comment by Jerril — April 19, 2007 @ 6:16 pm

  7. Hey, Mike, your printable instructions involve putting the stove on the stove. That seems… recursive.

    Comment by John — April 23, 2007 @ 11:30 pm

  8. Fixed, sorry.

    Comment by Mike Hoye — April 23, 2007 @ 11:51 pm

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