almost no-work whole grain bread

Yes, that's right, folks. I made bread. Ok, so I didn't have to knead and roll and flour it ... but I did have to wait 24 hours. And though it's not really a tall loaf, it tastes like whole-wheat bread should taste like: chewy in the middle, tough and crispy in the crust and moist and flavorful. This Mark Bittman recipe is extra special because it's coated in crunchy cornmeal - an element that gives it that extra oomph.

Now I just need to figure out what to put in its hot little self besides a sliver of butter (which melted just right into the crannies of the warm bread). Peanut butter? Jam? More butter? Yeah. Sounds good.

Almost No-Work Whole Grain Bread
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour, or use 2 cups plus a combination of other whole grain flours like buckwheat, rye, or cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt (depending on how salty you like it)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
  • Cornmeal or wheat bran for dusting (optional)
  • Up to 1 cup chopped nuts, seeds, dried fruit, or proofed whole grains (Optional. To proof grains, soak 1/2 cup grain in a small bowl, covered with water, for an hour or so. Drain and add to the dough as described in step 2.)
1. Combine the flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Add 1 3/4 to 2 cups water and stir until blended; the dough should be quite wet, almost like a batter (add some more water if it seems dry, up to about 2 cups.) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest in a warm place for at least 12 and up to 24 hours (if you didn't plan [again] like me, this can be tucked away in the fridge until you're ready to let it rise). The dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Rising time will be shorter at warmer temperatures or a bit longer if your kitchen is chilly.
2. Use some of the oil to grease the loaf pan. If you are adding nuts or anything else, fold them into the dough now with your hands or a rubber spatula. Transfer the dough to the loaf pan, and use a rubber spatula to gently settle it in evenly. Brush the top with the remaining oil and sprinkle with cornmeal if you like. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled, an hour or two depending on the warmth of your kitchen. When it’s almost ready heat the oven to 350 degrees.
3. Bake the bread until deep golden and hollow-sounding when tapped, about 45 to 55 minutes. (An instant-read thermometer should register 200 degrees when inserted into the center of the loaf.) Immediately turn out of the pan onto a rack and let cool before slicing.

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