Bread in a Pot

Slow and Easy Bread in a Pot
By Jacques Pépin, from More Fast Food My Way (2008)

Makes 1 Two-Pound Loaf


2¼ cups tepid water (about 90°)
1 teaspoon quick-rise yeast
1 tablespoon salt (or more to taste)
4 cups all-purpose flour (about 1 pound 5 ounces)

Combine the water, yeast and salt in a nonstick saucepan (mine is 3.2 quarts) that is about 8 inches across and 4 inches deep. Add the flour and mix thoroughly with a sturdy wooden spoon for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until the dough is well combined. Cover with a lid and let rise at room temperature (about 70°) for 1 hour, until it bubbles and rises about 1 inch in the pot.

Even though the dough is only partially proofed, scrape the inside of the pot above the level of the dough with a rubber spatula to collect any soft pieces of dough clinging to the sides of the pot. Still using the rubber spatula, bring the edge of the dough in toward the center to deflate it. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 12–14 hours.

Preheat the oven to 425º. Uncover the pan and bake for 1 hour, covering the bread loosely with a piece of aluminum foil after 45 minutes if it is getting too brown. Remove the bread from the oven and set aside for about 5 minutes to allow the bread to shrink from the sides of the pan. Unmold and cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before slicing.