Marie Antoinette famously told the masses that cake might be a suitable alternative to bread. Our own Tim Noakes swears by cutting it out entirely.
However, the only cutting we’ll be doing is to cut a thick slice of it.
As far as bread is concerned, you don’t get much better than a homemade loaf. If baking isn’t exactly your forté, an easy no-knead bread might be just what you need to beef up your kitchen cred.
No-knead, no-nonsense bread
3 cups of white flour or bread flour (whole wheat is great too, if you prefer the healthier option)
¾ teaspoon of yeast (instant or quick-rise)
1 ¼ teaspoon of salt
1 ½ cups of lukewarm water
1 large bowl
1 oven-safe pot with its lid
This bread does take some patience in terms of preparation time. Don’t fret, though, most of the preparation time entails you loafing around while the bread does the same; resting and rising. It might be best to prepare the dough the night before you plan on serving the bread.
1. Put the flour in the bowl.
2. Add the salt and yeast and mix thoroughly.
3. Pour the lukewarm water into the bowl and mix ingredients thoroughly. The dough will look a little beat up, but this is normal.
4. Oil the top of the dough with olive oil using a paper towel, then turn the dough in the bowl until the entire ball of dough is coated with oil.
5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest somewhere warm for at least six hours. After the six hours, the dough will have risen and will look not unlike an elderly person. This is normal.
6. Oil the countertop. Turn the dough out onto the countertop and fold it over itself at least once.
7. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it sit for another hour. Yes, this dough does indeed resemble an elderly person, but not to worry.
8. Preheat the oven to 200°C for about 20 minutes before the hour is up. Place the oven-safe pot in the oven.
9. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in the pot.
10. Place the lid onto the pot and put it in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes.
11. Remove the lid from the pot and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes.
12. To check if the bread is ready, stick a knife into it. If the knife comes out clean, it’s ready.
13. Slice and serve with copious amounts of butter and whichever other condiments blow your hair back. It also pairs well with soup, homemade or the kind you get in a bag from any good supermarket.