No-Knead Wild Yeast Whole Wheat Bread

No-Knead Whole Wheat Bread

For those of us who don’t have a lovely brick oven in the backyard, we can still make wonderful bread at home. And it’s “no-knead” so it’s easy! Many thanks to Jack Jenkins for this recipe!

Ingredients:

1/3 C wild yeast levain or sourdough starter

3 1/2 C whole wheat flour (freshly ground, if you have it), plus more for dusting

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 C warm water

Preparation:

In a large bowl combine water, flour, salt and levain, stirring until blended. The dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest (it’s really working) for at least 8 hours – preferably 12-18 hours – at room temperature (about 70 degrees).

The dough is ready when its surface looks like a moonscape dotted with craters and bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it. Sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest for about 15 minutes.

Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to the work surface, gently shape it into a ball. Generously coat a clean dish towel with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal. Put the seam side of the dough down on the towel and dust with flour. Cover with another towel and let rise for 1-2 hours. When it’s ready, the dough will have doubled in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

At least 20 minutes before the dough is ready, heat the oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6-8 quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex, or ceramic) in the oven as it heats. When the dough is ready, carefully remove the heated pot from the oven and lift off the lid. Slide your hand under the towel or waxed paper and turn the dough over into the pot, seam side up. The dough will lose its shape a bit in the process, but that’s okay. Give the pan a firm shake to help distribute the dough evenly; but don’t worry if it’s not perfect, it will straighten out as it bakes.

Cover and bake for 30 minutes with the lid on; remove the lid and bake uncovered for 10 to 20 more minutes. (Increase the time for a very “wet” loaf.”) The loaf should be beautifully browned when it’s done. Remove the bread from the dutch oven or casserole and let it cool on a rack for at least one hour before slicing.

Yield: One 1 1/2 pound loaf

Photo credit: spike55151, used with permission under Creative Commons license.

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