Thursday, August 14, 2014

Cheddar Chive Overnight Bread

I'm never going to get sick of this recipe.  It's so easy and it always turns out perfectly...well, except that one time.  But 'that one time' was my fault.  I thought, "Baking's not like a science or anything, I'll just completely disregard the directions and not let it rise properly or bake long enough."

So, that's not the recipe's fault.  Pretty sure that's the definition of 'operator error.'
Also, I'm never going to get sick of the smell of bread baking in the oven.  That's just not going to happen.

I think everyone loves the smell of fresh-baked bread.  And the taste.  But the kneading?  Ain't nobody got time for that!

This recipe gives you the smells and the flavors without the sore fingers, wrists and arms.

Recipe from Jim Lahey
3 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. yeast
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese
3 Tbsp. chives, chopped
1 1/2 c. water
more flour for dusting

1.  In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, yeast, salt, cheese and chives.  With a wooden spoon, stir in the water (the dough will be sticky at this point).  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature overnight (at least 12 hours and up to 18 hours).  It will be ready when there are bubbles coating the top of the dough.

2.  Generously flour a clean working surface.  Move the dough onto the floured surface, dust the top of the loaf with more flour, then fold dough over onto itself 3 or 4 times.  Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 15 minutes.

3.  Shape dough into a ball (it does not have to be perfect and try to handle the dough as little as possible).  It helps to flour your hands for this step so it doesn't stick.  Generously flour a clean cotton towel and place the rounded dough onto it, seem side down.  Cover with a second lightly floured towel and let rise for 2 hours. **Read step 4 now**  The dough will more than double in size.

4. A half hour before the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 350˚.  Place a large (oven-safe) stockpot in the oven while it is heating up.  When the dough is ready, remove the pot from the oven.  Turn the dough into the pot (seem will be facing up now).  Place the lid on the pot and cook for 30 minutes.  Remove lid and bake for another 15-30 minutes so the top is nicely browned.

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