Stecca, a No-Knead Artisan Baguette

I love me some no knead bread. I mean, really, kneading is what makes bread work to make. So take away the kneading? Well darn, you’ve just taken away the work. This may be one of the most impressive yet low effort breads I make. Simply stir together the flour, water, salt, sugar, yeast, then let sit. 6 hours? Sure. 18 hours? Why not. It’s a lose time frame that works either way! Jim Lahey, of course, master of the dutch oven bread is where they recipe is from! Of course I’ve bastardized it in a few ways but whatevs, it works for me!

Now lets talk toppings. You have loads of options so lissen-here-fellah.

1)Dump dough out onto floured counter, turn once so all floured, then divide in four,

2) Dump your dough out onto an olive oiled counter, turn to coat so all covered in oil, then cut in four.

Once you’ve got it cut, you turn the oven on, the dough needs to rest for 20 minutes (really, don’t skip this.) minimum, up to 1 1/2 hours. When your oven beeps, get your pan ready. It needs to be 18 inches long and however wide those pans usually are. I cover it in parchment paper because it’s easier. You could just grease it, although I don’t have experience with that.

Of course I didn’t take a picture, but you take one end in each hand of the dough, stretching it to 18 inches long, and putting down on the pan. From here, you can leave it how it is and bake, OR;

1) Sprinkle with salt (Not best on plain floured as it doesn’t stick)

2) Press garlic cloves, sliced sweet onion, olives, slices of tomatoes/cherry tomato halves or dried herbs into the top

3) Add extra olive oil with a pastry brush for a crisper crust.

4) Salt and Pepper

Then bake!

And if you REALLY want to wow people, take it out of the oven, put fresh basil and mozzarella on, then broil for a minute or two until nice and bubbly! Sea salt and fresh ground pepper on top of the cheese please!

Stecca from Jim Lahey’s Book, My Bread

3 cups (400 grams) flour (half and half white and fresh ground is my favourite. Less white=more dense but still tasty. All white=good too but I like nuttyness of whole wheat)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon instant or other active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups (350 grams) cool 55-65F water
additional flour for dusting

Mix together dry, then add in wet ingredients. Mix until well combined. If you want closer to 6 hour rise, add 1/2 tsp yeast instead. This can rise 6-18 or even 24 if you have a cooler house. Cover bowl with a plate or wet tea towel and let rise.

When you’re ready, Turn onto oiled or floured surface (see above options) and push into loose 4×6 rectangle, then cut into 4 chunks. Turn oven onto 500F and let bread rest 20 min while oven heats up. Oil a baking sheet, or line it with parchment. Take each chunk of dough and stretch it to 18 inches on the baking sheet. Top as desired (see above options)and bake for 15-25 minutes until golden. Enjoy!


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