Posted by: Rachael | July 13, 2010

New York Times Bread

A recipe was posted in the NY Times a couple of years back and it seemed everyone got on the bandwagon baking this stuff. We did. In spite of having to go out and buy plain white flour in order to be able to do it!
We’ve made it countless times since, and in our house it now goes by the name of *new york times bread*

Actually, even though it’s made with white flour, it’s not all bad. It uses only a little commerical yeast and relies on a very long fermentation time to develop the flavour (which also serves to break down phytates – if there are any left in white flour!)

Anyway, the recipe.

3C flour
1/4 t instant yeast
1 1/4 t salt
   Mix together

1 5/8 C warm water
   Add and mix in to a “shaggy” dough
   Cover with plastic wrap and leave for 12-18 hours
   (because we try to avoid plastic wrap at all costs….
   we tried using tea towel, but this did not work;
   covering with a lid, did, however…..)
   Dough is ready when it is dotted with bubbles.
   Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it.
   Sprinkle with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice.
   Let sit, covered, 15 minutes.
   Generously coat a cotton towel with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal.   
   Quickly shape dough into a ball and put dough seam side down on the towel and
   dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal.
   Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about two hours.
   When it is ready, it will have more than doubled in size and will not spring back
   when poked.
   At least half an hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450ºF.
   Put a 6- to 8- quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, Pyrex or ceramic) in the oven as
   it heats.
   When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven.
   Slide your hand under the towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up.
   It’s fine to look a mess at this stage!
   Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15-30
   minutes until brown.
   Cool on rack.

It would seem that a fellow Kiwi has successfully adapted this bread to using with wholewheat flour AND using a sourdough starter – in fact, she found her starter recipe at the very same website as us, so even though we haven’t tried the recipe yet, I’m confident it will be a winner!


1/2 cup sourdough starter
2 cups whole wheat flour (We use freshly ground Arawa or Otane wheat)
1 cup rye flour (We use zentrofan rye flour that we buy from Terrace Farm in Canterbury)
1/2 tablespoon sea salt


1. Put all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix together with just enough water to make a loose dough (This might be a bit more or less than one and a half cups of water. Could be quite a lot less if your sourdough is runny!). The dough should be much wetter than regular bread dough, but still stiff enough so that you’ll be able to lift and manipulate it. Kurt describes the correct consistency as “stiffer than pancake batter, but still a bit moist and slumpy.” I would liken the dough to a rather sticky scone dough — for those of you who have ever made scones!

2. Cover the bowl, and leave the dough to rise for 18 to 24 hours.

3. Sprinkle a layer of cornmeal on a work surface, flour your hands, and turn the dough out onto the cornmeal. The dough will now be much stickier now than it was when you first mixed it 24 hours ago, but hopefully can still be folded over on itself a couple of times to form a very rough loaf (Don’t knead it!). This part usually works out really sticky, squishy and messy for me, but the end result has always been fine!

4. Spread a thin layer of corn meal on a smooth tea-towel and put the dough on top of it. Dust the top of the loaf with a little flour or cornmeal if it seems sticky, and fold the tea towel over to cover it.

5. Leave the loaf to sit at room temperature for another 2 hours.

6. 20 minutes before this second rise is finished, preheat your oven to degrees(475 degrees F) with the empty Dutch oven (or covered casserole) in it. 475 degrees F.

7. When the 2 hours are up, open the hot oven, take the lid off the Dutch oven, carefully transfer the risen loaf into the Dutch oven, and replace the lid.

8. Bake in the covered Dutch oven for about 30 minutes, then remove the cover and bake for another 15 minutes, or until the loaf looks nicely golden and crisp (more like 10 minutes in our oven!).

9. Remove loaf from the oven and cool on a wire rack.


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