Is there anything better than loaf of homemade bread? I have huge sweet tooth but homemade bread trumps pies and cakes any time. I don't like to knead -wondering if I've done it long or hard enough. I don't have a warm place to raise the bread so I'm never sure I've let it rise enough.
A few years ago the NY Times ran a recipe for 18 hour bread here that required no kneading and no warm "rising closet". I made it for awhile but could never get my act in gear 18 hours ahead of time. The next year the Times ran another bread recipe here that only needed 2 hours. I liked the second recipe but preferred the directions of the first so I combined them.
1 1/2 Tablespoons dried yeast (1 and 1/2 packets)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 1/2 cups of all purpose flour (although I've found any flour or combination work)
3 cups hot tap (100 degrees) water
2 - 1 quart saucepan and lids (although any saucepan works - small ones will result in tall loaves; large ones, shallow loaves.)
Dissolve yeast and salt in 3 cups of hot tap water in a large bowl. Stir in 6 1/2 cups of flour until there is no dry flour. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise for 2 hours.
Half an hour before you wish to cook your bread, heat your oven to 450 degrees and place your 2 saucepans in the oven with lids on. Allow to heat for 1/2 hour. Take your pans out of the oven, remove lids and sprinkle with corn meal. Cut the bread dough in half, gently form into loose balls. Drop into the pans and shake to distribute the dough. *note - the Times calls for a second rising but I've never found it necessary.
Cover the pans with the lids and bake (at 450) for 30 minutes. Remove the lids and cook (450) for another 20 minutes.
My pans are a tiny bit narrower at the top making removing the bread a challenge. I wait until the bread cools to coax the bread out with my hands.
This recipe makes 2 loaves, but if you want a larger loaf, use the whole recipe in a dutch oven or soup pan.