For those intimidated by making bread, this is a recipe for you: a slow-rising bread that you do not need to knead! Note that it takes 18-24 hours to rise, so plan accordingly (unlike Jill, who made it the first time and had to bring it to work the next day to bake). You can substitute any dried fruit or nuts you would like into this recipe. We have made (and quite enjoyed) a loaf with figs, walnuts, and mulberries.
3 cups all-purpose flour (or spelt), plus about 1/2 cup for dusting
1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups cold water
3/4 cup sliced dried figs
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 teaspoons cinnamon
In a bowl, mix together 3 cups of flour, yeast and salt. Add water and stir until blended; the dough will be quite moist and stringy. Mix in figs, walnuts and cinnamon (it will be streaky; this is good). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for 18-24 hours at room temperature.
Once the surface is bubbly, scrap dough onto a piece of parchment paper on the counter. Dust with some of the reserved flour and fold the dough into itself a few times, adding more flour each time. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for 2-3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. As the oven is preheating, put a 5- to 8- litre (6- to 8- quart) heavy covered dish in the oven to warm. Once ready, carefully remove pot from oven and place dough with the parchment paper into the dish. Bake for 25 minutes covered, and then remove lid and bake for about 15-20 minutes, until bread is crispy and browned.
Place on a wire rack to cool or enjoy warm with butter.