My coworker is of hearty peasant stock. She loves a good borst with a hefty slice of bread. “There is nothing,” she declares in her Russian-accented English, “better than fresh bread. Nothing!” One day I brought her a loaf of bread. Her eyes lit up, as she held it to the light. For a moment, she just took it in. Then,she gave me the ultimate praise; “It is just like the bread we had in Belarus!”
I gave her, and now you, the recipe. The next time you feel a little homesick for the old country, pull out four ingredients and you too can be transported to the homeland. While you’re at it, try not to think too hard about why you fled the old sod. Just enjoy the bread.
Jim Lahey wrote the recipe, Mark Bittman turned it into a craze, and my dad perfected it for home-use. Together, they bring you: Bread.
3 cups flour
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
1 5/8 cups water
Mix dry ingredient, stir in water until blended and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, let sit for 12 – 18 hours [more or less] in a warm place.
Divide dough into two balls, flour and let sit in separate blobs. Place pot – visionsware, pyrex, enamel, castiron or enamel – in oven; heat oven to 450. When oven is fully heated, remove remove pot safely, plop floured dough into pot, and let cook 30 minutes with the lid on. Remove lid and cook for an addition 15 minutes. When cooked, safely turned loaf onto heat-resistant surface. Repeat cooking and cooking process for second loaf.