Ridiculously Difficult No-Knead Bread

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artisan_noknead_sm.jpgAh, Cook's Illustrated...They always have the best techniques, tips, and recipes, it just always seems to take an entire day to pull one off. They are true weekend recipes: lots of time, but usually worth it. This recipe is their version of the ubiquitous "no-knead bread" baked in a Dutch oven that has been floating around online. It's kind of funny because the whole idea behind the original recipe was that it was easy...and, well, this is not. Not fast anyway. This version bakes up a perfectly textured artisan loaf of bread in only...11 hours! Still, the bread was really good. Bakery good. It might be worth it.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp table salt
3/4 cup + 2 tbs water, room temperature
1/4 c. + 2 tbs mild beer (something typically American)
1 tbs white vinegar

Whisk flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add water, beer, and vinegar. Using rubber spatula, fold mixture, scraping up dry flour from bottom of bowl until shaggy ball forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 8-18 hours.

Lay 12x18 inch sheet of parchment paper inside 10-inch skillet and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead 10-15 times. Shape dough into ball by pulling edges into middle. Transfer dough, seam side down, to parchment-lined skillet and spray surface of dough with cooking spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until dough has doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with a finger, about 2 hours.

About 30 minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place 6-8 qt. Dutch oven (with lid) on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Lightly flour top of dough and make one 6-inch long, 1/2 inch deep slit along top of dough. Carefully remove pot from oven and remove lid. Pick up dough by lighting parchment overhang and lower into pot (let excess parchment hang over pot edge). Cover pot and place in oven. Reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue to bake until loaf is deep brown, 20-30 minutes longer. Carefully remove bread from pot, transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.

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