This weekend I revisited artisan bread making at home. A crusty no knead boule. Generously filled with pecans and raisins. Scented with a touch of mixed spice. Using a ridiculously easy but enormously satisfying set and forget method of making baking bread. The subject of a previous post You Must Try This. At Least Once. Pure Genius. Crusty No Knead Artisan Bread.
This latest offering adds dried fruit and nuts to the original recipe. Its equally delicious eaten piping hot straight out of the oven, or left to cool on a wire rack before cutting into thick slices. For a quick sweet fix, simply slather with marmalade. Or perhaps you prefer something a little more sophisticated and savoury? Do as we did and serve with a runny, perfectly ripe double cream brie.
Crusty No Knead Artisan Bread With Pecans and Raisins
Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
1 cup pecans
1 cup raisins
flour, cornmeal or semolina for dusting
IN A LARGE bowl combine flour, yeast, mixed spice, pecans, raisins and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky.
COVER bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at room temperature.
DOUGH is ready when its surface is dotted with 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 rest about 15 minutes.
USING just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to the work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball.
GENEROUSLY coat a large sheet of baking paper with flour, semolina or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on the baking paper and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal.
COVER with another sheet of baking paper or a cotton tea towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
AT LEAST a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 225 C. Place a heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in the oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven.
REMOVE the top sheet of baking paper (or tea towel) and gently lower the bread dough still resting on the baking paper into the preheated pot. Shake the pot once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.
COVER with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.