This is not a blog.: Slow prep bread technique

“I’ll be teaching a truly minimalist breadmaking technique that allows people to make excellent bread at home with very little effort. The method is surprisingly simple – I think a 4-year-old could master it – and the results are fantastic.”

I set up a time to visit Mr. Lahey, and we baked together, and the only bad news is that you cannot put your 4-year-old to work producing bread for you. The method is complicated enough that you would need a very ambitious 8-year-old. But the results are indeed fantastic.

Mr. Lahey’s method is striking on several levels. It requires no kneading. (Repeat: none.) It uses no special ingredients, equipment or techniques. It takes very little effort.

I do love me my bread, but I’m rather a failure as a cook. This story, though – mentioned on a now-forgotten Stumbler’s blog – appears to be idiot-proof. This idiot is putting that to the test: I’ve got dough rising as we speak. If this works, I think there’ll be a lot more flour-buying in my future. Dr. Atkins, eat your heart out.


Not bad for a first effort! The reviews claimed the recipe was very forgiving, and that seems to be the case. I used old yeast, and wound up with dough that wasn’t wet enough. And while it’s a poor workman who blames his tools, I used two small stainless steel pots (against the advice of the recipe), and my 20 year old oven has never managed to equal any task to which it has been set. I split my dough into two, and set one half for following the recipe. The other half was my “experimentation” loaf, which I loaded with rosemary, oregano, parmesan and olives. Shockingly, the olive loaf worked out better than the standard one, which was dense and gummy, though the crust on both turned out just as described.

Also just as described were my pots, which had only tiny bits of crust stick to them, and were otherwise totally clean.

This is an interesting method – hardly any cleaning or exertion is involved. Which makes trying it again very appealing. Raisin bread next, I think!

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