Jesus christ, you people and your carbs. For the record, I was going to post a recipe to the bread, I just didn’t before because the entry was long enough and there were other things to talk about (I’m aware that my life is less important than bread, but if I had a therapist, I’m sure they would tell me to seek a balance between the two). So. If you haven’t already Tweeted, Facebook messaged, or e-mailed me for the recipe (or if you have and I couldn’t figure out how to copy-paste from my phone last night while distracted by a screeching 5-year-old), here’s the recipe for Moondance Farm Bread, or Jane Bread, or, my nominal preference, Queen Jane Bread:
Moondance Farm Bread
1 cast iron dutch oven*
3 cups bread flour (white or wheat, but preferably unbleached)
1.5 cups warm water (always half of the flour content)
1/4 tsp. active dry yeast (in a jar, Jane says the packets are wasteful)
½ tbsp. salt
Mix the ingredients in a bowl. It’s probably best if you have a stand mixer on a low speed (too fast will destroy the gluten, ie chew), as a spoon doesn’t get all of it and your hands (which I use) will get gloppy and sticky.
Once mixed, place a clean cloth kitchen towel over the bowl and set aside. Keep at room temperature (this is called proofing) for 12-24 hours.
When you’re ready to bake, put your empty dutch oven and its lid in the regular oven and preheat to 500 degrees. Yes, 500, or as Jane says, “screaming hot.”
When the oven is hot, dust your hands with flour and then peel your dough out of its bowl and form it into a vague ball shape. Then toss it into the center of the dutch oven and put the lid on. Bake covered for 20 minutes.
Now uncover it and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes (depending on your preference for crusty brownness, I prefer crustier/browner so I go with 10).
Using tongs or a large spoon, remove the bread from the dutch oven and set aside (also, turn the oven off, what do you want, a fire?). Let it sit for at least 20 minutes before slicing. Actually after slicing, I’d let it sit for another 10, since the steam inside can make the bread a bit too doughy to enjoy very much at first.
That’s it. This is the easiest bread in the world. You can mix it and set it aside to proof when you get home from work and stick it in the oven when you wake up. It’s the simplest thing and so, so delicious. Jane said for everyone to share the recipe with whomever wants it, so that everyone else can enjoy the same awesome bread.
Notes on the bread: This is very similar to the New York Times’ No-Knead Bread, which is also a good recipe but needlessly precise, in my opinion. In this bread, you can use stuff like nuts, seeds, raisins, cinnamon, or pretty much whatever you want. It’s very plain, but also very hearty and perfect with just butter and salt.
Also, it’s best if you eat it all the same day (this will not be hard, as it is highly addictive and you’ll have to keep yourself from gnawing your own fingers off just to get more of it into your mouth). It’s pretty dense and its ultra-freshness means it’s not super delicious when it’s been sitting around for more than 24 hours.
* Notes on the cast iron dutch oven: If you don’t have one, per Jane, “buy one.” I have an 8-quart one (I think), which, if you’re in the store looking at it, is the one large enough to hold a regular-sized round loaf of bread or a pot of chili big enough to serve 7-12 people depending on appetite and available side dishes.
Don’t cheap out and get one with a glass lid or think you’re better than everyone and buy a ceramic Le Creuset. Those don’t work for this kind of thing, because the glass can’t hold the heat required for the convection effect and the Le Creuset is extremely expensive and pretty but not built for this kind of use. Just get a cast iron dutch oven. They’re like $60 but trust me, you’ll use it forever. It’s one of those basic things like a stockpot or decent chef’s knife that you should always have in your kitchen, and if you don’t, then you’re probably not a very good cook and I don’t want to come over for dinner.
OH, most of the cast iron stuff you buy new is “pre-seasoned,” but in my opinion, still smells an awful lot like metal. If you want to season it yourself (and you should, because effort is important), preheat your oven to about 350 degrees and wipe the inside of the dutch oven and its lid with a very thin layer of cooking oil. Place them separately on the oven rack and let them heat until they stop smoking. You might want to have a fan on for this.
And IF you season your dutch oven or any cast ironware, don’t wash it like you wash regular dishes. Wipe it out with a wet cloth or sponge and dry it immediately. Do not let it soak or put it in the dishwasher; it will rust and stink and get ruined, and you will have wasted $60.