Korea is not a place to go for good bread products. Don't get me wrong, the bigger stores like E-Mart or Lotte Mart will have big loaves just waiting to be eaten. And there are bakeries everywhere that do brisk business selling everything from pastries to croissants. Just be aware... most Korean bread pretty much tastes like Wonder Bread. There are a few exceptions, of course (such as the amazing mom & pop bakery around the corner from our house) but for the most part expect your loaf to have the consistency of a sponge. In a desperate search for bread that didn't taste like something I could use to scrub my bathroom floors, Erin and I dug through our cookbooks in search of recipes. With limited counter space and supplies, we were looking for something we could manage easily in a Korean kitchen. What follows is possibly the easiest, most reliable, no knead bread recipe I have ever encountered. (adapted from The Kitchen Counter Cooking School)
The following will make one small loaf. It will require 5 - 10 minutes of work and roughly 2 to 3 hours for rising.
- 1 cup of lukewarm water
- 1.5 teaspoons of active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 cups of all purpose white flour
Combine water, yeast in one bowl, and flour and salt in another. Let sit for 5 min, until yeast begins to froth.
Add the yeast mixture to the flour all at once and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough is wet and sticky with no dry patches. Cover and let rise for 1-2 hours, until doubled in size.
Lightly oil a second bowl. Scrape the dough out of the bowl and into the second bowl. It will be very sticky.
Set aside and allow to rise for another 30 min to 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Grease an oven safe bowl or dish (we use an 8 inch cast iron pan). Scrape the dough into the pan.
Bake the bread at 450 for 30 min, or until the crust is brown and the loaf feels light and hollow.
Pop it out onto a wire rack and allow to cool.
This is by far the easiest bread recipe we've ever encountered. To spice things up, we tend to add a bit of savory, rosemary, thyme and oregano to the dry ingredients before mixing, but it tastes fine without them.