Crusty No-Knead Bread

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      A gazillion years ago, when DD was a wee thing, she and I would make small loaves of bread to deliver to friends and families that we had heard of in need.  A whole day was devoted to making the bread.  Then we would get up early on Thanksgiving and bake our loaves of bread so that we could deliver them as warm as possible.  If our budget provided, we did some for Christmas Eve.  This is the recipe we used because it was always a success and easy for a child to help with making.

      Crusty No-Knead Bread

      3 cups bread or all-purpose flour
      1 1/2 cups water, room temperature
      2 tbs olive oil
      1 1/4 tsp salt
      1/4 tsp instant yeast

      In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon or by hand until it is a soft, ragged-looking dough.

      Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it stand at room temperature for 12 to 18 hours.

      Flour a piece of parchment paper and hands. Coax the dough out of the bowl and onto the floured parchment paper.

      With floured hands, fold the dough over on itself about 4 times to form a round loaf.

      Position it on the floured parchment seam-side down and sprinkle with flour.

      Put a lightweight kitchen towel over the loaf. Let it rise for another 2 hours.

      Position the oven rack in the center of the oven. Place a heavy, 4- to 6-quart Dutch oven in the oven. Do not include the lid when preheating.  Preheat the oven to 500°. Once preheated, carefully remove the hot Dutch oven from the oven and place it on a metal rack. Reduce the oven temperature to 425°.

      Lifting it by the ends of the parchment paper, put the dough, parchment paper and all, in the hot Dutch oven.

      Place the lid on the pot and put it back in the oven. Bake for 30 min with the lid on.

      Remove the lid and bake for about 20 min longer. The bread should register at least 200° on an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center.

      Remove the bread and place it on a rack to cool before slicing. Makes 4 big slices

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