I find baking bread so intriguing. The simplest tweak of a recipe can yield a completely different loaf. It’s a frustrating science, for sure. I’ve baked more bread over the past week, trying to get that loaf that I could practically taste and a crackling crust I could almost hear. Two things I knew…it had to be a no-knead bread and I wanted it baked in cast-iron.
If you’ve never heard of this technique, you need to try this version from Mark Bittman and Jim Lahey. It’s always been a favorite of mine. The bread comes out with the most beautiful crunchy crust. The thing is, I’ve been trying to find a way to create a whole wheat version that takes less time and can be done in a skillet.
One reason for wanting this bread to be effortless is to encourage you to make a few of these…how about three? You may remember the first time I talked to you about The Three Loaves project, started by the sweetest Jerry Jones of Cooking Stoned. The goal of this movement is to create a mindfulness of our own communities and the people within them. It’s meant to bring us closer, start a conversation and reach out to those in our own neighborhoods that may need a little something extra. Three loaves. One for you, one for a friend and one for someone in need.
- 4 cups whole wheat flour
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 2¼ teaspoons granulated active dry yeast
- 2 cups warm water
- olive oil
- 1 tablespoons rolled oats
- few pinches of coarse salt
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and yeast. Pour the warm water over the top and using a sturdy wooden spoon, mix until combined. The dough will be shaggy and sticky, this is fine.
- Lightly cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Keep the bowl in a draft-free spot for one hour.
- Using some olive oil, lightly grease the bottom of a 10 to 12 inch cast iron skillet.
- Sprinkle some extra flour over the top of the dough and with floured hands work the dough out of the bowl and dump it straight into the prepared skillet. Give the skillet a shake to distribute the dough or use a wooden spoon to shape it into a round.
- Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and allow it to rise once more for just 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Brush the top of the dough with about 2 teaspoons of olive oil, score and sprinkle the rolled oats and the coarse salt over the top.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until a crusty deep golden brown.
Adapted from Easy No-Knead Skillet Bread by Baker Bettie
Inspired by Speedy No-Knead Bread by Mark Bittman