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Simple crusty no knead bread

When I began making bread - in my early twenties, living in Glasgow, working in an office job that I was growing out of - I was a champion kneader. I took all my stresses out on that ball of dough.

At the same time my Dad was extolling the virtues of a 'no knead' bread that he made every week - it was bread, technically, but it was bread with the texture of a rock. That probably was one of the reasons that I bought into the idea that to have a light, edible, delicious loaf of bread, you needed to knead.

Then, running my own business, baking bread became something that I fitted into the corners of life and I had to simplify the whole process if I was going to do it at all. My children weren't keen on the heaviness of my Dad's brand of bread, and I gradually developed an alternative, cutting down the kneading, ramping up the amount of liquid.

Four years ago I learned how to make sourdough bread with the amazing Kat Goldin at Gartur Stitch Farm, but as bread is the only thing I bake regularly I keenly felt the waste as I discarded the discard. Then sourdough baking became popular and I found I just couldn't bring myself to do it any more - a BIG personality flaw - and my poor starter languished. However, if you want to learn to bake sourdough bread simply - go see Kat!

What the sourdough did demystify for me however was "the Dutch oven' which I had seem mentioned in so many books - I had assumed that it was a rare and specialist piece of equipment. When it actually turned out to be an old lidded pan that could go in the oven that made everything easier - I already had a couple of those, too chipped for regular cooking, hanging around looking burned and taking up space.

So, when I went back to baking with yeast 2 years ago, I spent time honing my technique until it became simpler and simpler, more and more forgiving - stirring rather than kneading.

Now bread making is a ten minute process in total - with some time for the dough to rise (from 3 to 24 hours) and 50 minutes in the oven.

If you fancy having a go here is a video - the only remotely tricky bit is having the courage to leave the dough really wet which is what makes it light.

You can also get a download of the recipe here.

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