This is what you do when once again you’re completely out of hours, and your intention to FOR SURE THIS TIME bake fancy fruit-studded loaves to bring all your friends and neighbours in the days before Christmas has once again fallen flat on its face. Honestly, don’t you know yourself yet?
It occurred to me that the wonderfully easy, rustic and crusty no-knead bread could take on additions like cinnamon and raisins, or herbs and cheese, or figs and walnuts. So I made a loaf, just to see. It fused fast to the pot – something that has never happened before – so much so that I had to chisel and soak its bottom from the bottom of the pan.
So for round two I used a piece of parchment, which worked brilliantly – not only did it contain the floury mess on the countertop, it looked quite charming in the pot itself, especially after the bread had baked and the parchment turned crackly and pale golden. Don’t skip it, unless you love doing dishes.
It turns out this is perfect for after Christmas too – for those midwinter mornings when preheating a large, heavy pot in a 450F oven to bake a crackly round loaf seems like a Very Good Idea.