Bread, the recipe

Here is the recipe Brian used for the very very tasty bread. It comes from Cook's Illustrated. Brian and I are big Cook's fans (more Brian than me since he does about 95% of our cooking). I won't complain because I benefit from his cooking.* I would do more cooking if Brian would accept beans and lentils as a main dish but he does not. Cook's Illustrated has a great magazine and website ( You can buy on-line access to all of their recipes. It is the same people who do America's Test Kitchen on PBS, and have many great cook books. You cannot go wrong with them so check it out. Also, Brian doubled this recipe with great success so we had two yummy loaves instead of one. (And you will want two!)

Almost No-Knead Bread
An enameled cast-iron Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid yields best results, but the recipe also works in a regular cast-iron Dutch oven or heavy stockpot. (See the related information in "Making Your Dutch Oven Safe for High-Heat Baking" for information on converting Dutch oven handles to work safely in a hot oven, or call Brian for a private tutorial.) Use a mild-flavored lager, such as Budweiser** (mild non-alcoholic lager also works). The bread is best eaten the day it is baked but can be wrapped in aluminum foil and stored in a cool, dry place for up to 2 days.
Makes 1 large round loaf (but doubles well)

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (15 ounces), plus additional for dusting work surface
1/4 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water (7 ounces), at room temperature
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons mild-flavored lager (3 ounces)
1 tablespoon white vinegar

1. Whisk flour, yeast, and salt in large bowl. Add water, beer, and vinegar. Using rubber spatula, fold mixture, scraping up dry flour from bottom of bowl until shaggy ball forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 18 hours.
2. Lay 12- by 18-inch sheet of parchment paper inside 10-inch skillet and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead 10 to 15 times. Shape dough into ball by pulling edges into middle. Transfer dough, seam-side down, to parchment-lined skillet and spray surface of dough with nonstick cooking spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until dough has doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with finger, about 2 hours.
3. About 30 minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place 6- to 8-quart heavy-bottomed Dutch oven (with lid) on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Lightly flour top of dough and, using razor blade or sharp knife, make one 6-inch-long, 1/2-inch-deep slit along top of dough. Carefully remove pot from oven and remove lid. Pick up dough by lifting parchment overhang and lower into pot (let any excess parchment hang over pot edge). Cover pot and place in oven. Reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue to bake until loaf is deep brown and instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 210 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Carefully remove bread from pot; transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.
STEP BY STEP: Almost No-Knead Bread
1. MIX: Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with a spatula.
2. REST: Leave the dough to rest for eight to 18 hours.
3. KNEAD: Knead the dough 10 to 15 times and shape it into a ball.
4. LET RISE: Allow the dough to rise for two hours in a parchment paper-lined skillet.
5. BAKE: Place the dough in a preheated Dutch oven and bake it until it's deep brown.
STEP BY STEP: Bread Sling
Transferring dough to a preheated Dutch oven to bake can be tricky. To avoid burnt fingers and help the dough hold its shape, we came up with a novel solution: Let the dough rise in a skillet (its shallow depth makes it better than a bowl) that's been lined with greased parchment paper, then use the paper's edges to pick up the dough and lower it into the Dutch oven. The bread remains on the parchment paper as it bakes.
* I seem to benefit too much from Brian's cooking since when we got married I gained weight and Brian lost weight. My more healthy habits benefited him well, and the not eating beans and lentils and eating more things with cream had the opposite effect on me. We are still getting things figured out but have many more healthy habits than we did when we first married. We still enjoy eating a lot.
**It was somewhat comical to see Brian and I trying to buy beer, which was further complicated by Utah's interesting liquor laws. Brian will probably buy some near beer to keep on hand since the plan is make this bread multiple times a week. We also want to get some King Arthur whole wheat white flour (a great whole wheat flour made from a softer wheat which is milled very finely to yield less dense results than typical whole wheat) to make it a bit more healthy.
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