When the San Francisco Bay Area weather exits its Indian Summer and the air very suddenly turns cold, it’s time to seek out the simplest, most comforting foods available; there is nothing more basic than fresh bread.
For a long time the making of bread seemed almost mystical. I had made pizza dough without making the connection but bread was something that required some kind of connection with yeast as a living thing, it was the domain of husky servant women of olde with big hands and forearms who spent all day thrashing big blobs of dough into compliance.
But then everything changed, or more specifically, I, along with most of The Internet, discovered the magic of no-knead bread. This dough lives in my fridge during the fall and winter as I tend to replenish it as often as necessary. It makes loaves that, while not quite as refined as many of the local offerings, smell great while baking (it’s been said a billion times, but some things are clichés and others absolute truths – there is nothing better than the smell of fresh bread baking) and offer enough crust, chew, and versatility in shape that it’s hard to resist throwing a loaf in the oven every night.
For a really nice loaf, I toss the dough into a preheated cast iron casserole and cover for the first 15 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 20 minutes or so. Another tip: those basic single edge razor blades from the drugstore are perfect for making slashes.