I was torn - should I post this in a cooking thread? East Coast cuz it’s from NYC? Los Angeles cuzs that’s where I am?
But having lived in the Midwest and visited the East Coast heaps, and now live in LA? F it. If LA folks can get great homemade bread without importing east coast mineral filled water (it does make a difference) or driving cross town - I am here to share.
Kenji of Serious Eats (and Cook’s Illustrated) is a great cook and inventor. KILLER. But he can tend to sometimes, maybe, overcomplicate things.
So his recipe, flat out, is excellent. Truly. But it’s more of a special occasion thing.
Me? I don’t do the rosemary/pistachio/salt topping (the pistachios tend to fall off anyway.)
I simplify it and make it with just fresh chopped rosemary and salt or, like an everything bagel, salt, poppyseed and garlic or onions if I desire. (I’d say sesame seed too, but I don’t have it in the house right now.)
Anyhoo, 5 minutes of prep the night before, another two minutes of prep to set it for the second rise, preheat the oven and then another minute of prep before you put it in the oven? And then? Magic.
One of the sayings in my world is “You can get it fast, good or cheap. Pick two.” With this bread? As long as you can do an overnight rise? You get all three. Yay Kenji!
P.S. This does seem to be in the same family as the no knead bread/overnight rise Suzanne Dunaway did in Beverly Glen years ago. But what Kenji does with the cast iron skillet, oil and salt takes it into a whole new place : )