We have just returned from Aspen and the raw beauty that makes Colorado so special. The fall foliage was in its full glory. Surprisingly, after all of the time I have spent either living or visiting Colorado, I’ve never experienced Autumn in the high country. I was in state of awe at the sensational gorgeousness that welcomed us as we drove over the Continental Divide and made our way through the spectacularly colored Vail Valley. We arrived in Aspen as the sun was setting so we caught a only a glimpse of the beauty that awaited us. We awoke to a brilliant sight of the mountains covered in the brightest shades of yellow, gold, red and green. Really, it took my breath away. We went for a hike at Hunter’s Creek and biked along the Rio Grande trail. There were bears in trees all over town, seemingly uninterested in all of the onlookers, instead, paying attention to the trees overflowing with crabapples that they were gobbling up as fast as they could. It was a magical visit for sure. Romanic as it always is to be in the mountains with the wood fireplace burning as the first snow of the season was dusting the tops the high peaks. Before we left for Aspen, I made the simplest, no knead bread recipe ever. This was hands down the best loaf of bread I have ever made and while the dough needs to sit for 15-20 hours, if you mix the dough in the early evening, it will be ready to shape, rise and bake in the morning.
While it isn’t critical to the success of the recipe, I always use organic flours to make this bread.
- 3 cups white bread flour, or 2½ cups white bread flour and ½ cup whole wheat flour
- ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 1½ cups water (more if needed)
- In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt.
- Add 1½ cups water, and stir with a wooden spoon until blended, the dough will be shaggy and sticky (add additional water if the dough is really dry and not holding together).
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, foil or a lid. Let the dough sit for at least 15 hours and up 24 hours, at a warm room temperature, about 70 degrees. The dough will be covered with bubbles.
- Using your fingers, loosen the dough from the bowl and fold it over on to itself a few times.
- With floured hands, shape dough into a ball and pinch the seams together.
- Heavily coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size.
- Thirty minutes before the dough is ready, heat oven to 500 degrees.
- Put a heavy 6 to 8 quart covered pot in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove the pot from oven. Gently slide your hand under the dough and turn it over into pot. Shake the pan once or twice to evenly distribute the dough. Cover with the lid place in oven, reduce heat to 450 degrees and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is lightly browned.
- Cool on a rack.