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LAist in the Kitchen: Baking your own Bread

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Although I know my way around the kitchen, for years I considered bread baking a specialized talent that took patience and a certain cast to character that I did not have. This didn't bother me; in fact, I confess that I looked down a bit on my breadbaking friends, raving about yeast and living dough and all manner of crunchiness.

Until this fall, when the New York Times' Mark Bittman offered a bread recipe, via Sullivan Street Bakery's Jim Lahey, that had a strange appeal for me. Had I lost it? Was I going to start raving about living yeast?

Not exactly. But I discovered that this home-baked bread is better than what you can pick up at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods....it's got so much better flavor and more life than any of the fine breads you can buy. Making it does not take any special skills, or even large chunks of time. You do a little work, then leave the dough to do its own thing for a while. The finished loaf is beautiful. You may be as stunned as I was to discover that you made it.

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Bittman was on "Good Food with Evan Kleiman" this morning on KCRW, and she's reprinted the recipe (you have to scroll down). Try it...you will not be sorry, and I speak as someone who really never wanted to bake bread.

Another great source for no-knead bread recipes is Suzanne Dunaway's No Need to Knead, which is unfortunately out of print and only available used. This book by the founder of LA's Buona Forchetta bakery has great, similarly hands-off bread recipes -- try the breadsticks.

Photo from JarkkoS via Flickr