My grandpa Hoy was famous for his homemade bread. One of his signature creations was a loaf he made with tomato juice and topped with caraway seeds, this is a variation of his recipe. I added a few Bloody Mary seasonings, and think the old guy would be proud.
I was about ten when Grandpa taught me the art of bread-making. He showed me how to knead the dough, he taught me how the dough should feel when it is ready to rest and when it is ready to bake. He taught me how a loaf should sound when it's time to take it out of the oven.
You won't need any of these skills for this recipe.
The no-knead technique uses time instead of elbow grease to develop the gluten, and it is pretty much fool proof. Working with the same basic ratio for the liquid, flour, yeast, and salt you can really get creative with your ingredients. Check out Lori's recipe for chocolate no knead bread. Just imagine the possibilities; chocolate French toast, peanut butter sandwiches on chocolate bread, sweet chocolate Tartines with ricotta and fresh berries...
I digress, back to our Bloody Mary bread.
To make one small loaf you will need:
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup tomato juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed chili peppers
- Pinch ground celery seed
- Dash Tabasco sauce
Mix together dry ingredients in a big bowl using a whisk to evenly distribute the seasonings. Heat the tomato juice and Tabasco in a small saucepan until it feels warm to the touch, not too hot. Add the juice to the bowl, and stir to combine. The dough will be wet and shaggy. Cover the bowl with Saran and leave the mixture to rise for 12-18 hours in a warm spot. Turn the dough out on to a floured surface and knead for a minute or so. Form the dough into a ball, and place on a well floured cutting board. Cover loosely with a clean tea towel, and let rise for another 2 hours, until doubled in size. You will need an enameled cast iron pot with a lid to make a crusty Boule.
With your cast iron pot in the oven, preheat to 425F. Once the oven and the pot have come to temperature, carefully take the pot out of the oven and remove the lid. Roll the dough into the hot pot, replace lid, and return to the oven. Bake with the lid on for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for another 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven, and set loaf on a wire rack to cool. It will snap, crackle, and pop as it does so. I have also baked this recipe in the middle of a preheated, large cast iron skillet, poked down into a focaccia like shape with great success. The crust is much softer when cooked this way. This recipe lends itself very well to the addition of fresh herbs and slivers of garlic too.