Counter Action: Overnight artisan bread


Taking food pictures is always fraught with danger.

My roommate has three cats, all aggressively friendly and as stubborn as tiny mules. Last night, for example, they all curled up in my room, intending to spend the night there. I had different plans. I’ve mediated enough of their nighttime spats and picked up enough fallen books to banish them to the living room.


The kids: Salem at the top left, Bandersnatch Cutiebutt opposite, and Crookshanks supervising from below.

Salem was on board with this right away — she can take a hint. The Bandersnatch was displeased but eventually deigned to leave. And Crookshanks … oh, Crookshanks. The guy is either a seriously deep sleeper or a seriously good actor. After I’d spent several minutes nudging him, blowing in his face, and clapping my hands, he finally rolled over onto his front, where I could pick him up and haul him out.

It’s a similar process when I want to use the cats’ obstacle course — a.k.a. the kitchen table — to take photographs. I can’t turn my back for a second, or else they’ll be on the table sniffing my setup. I have to get everything together in one trip, then snap pictures wildly, pausing only to clap my hands several times or blow in the kids’ faces.

Is this food photography or jungle photography? Sometimes I’m not sure.


The dough for this bread can be thrown together in five minutes, dumped in the fridge, and forgotten for up to 18 hours. When you’re ready to bake it, just pull it out, plop it on a preheated pizza stone or dutch oven, and bake until golden brown. There’s no kneading, no proofing, no waiting around for the dough to double twice. It’s that easy, and that delicious: soft and flavorful on the inside, with a thick, crunchy crust. If you want to tell your dinner guests how you made it, feel free to amaze them. Or let them think you’ve spent weeks nurturing the perfect pâte fermentée. It’s your choice, really.

Overnight artisan bread

(Taken from The Baker Chick)


  • 3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2–1 tsp. yeast
  • 1–3 tsp. salt
  • 1-1/2 c. warm water


  1. Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge.
  2. Eight to 18 hours later, remove dough from fridge. Place pizza stone in oven, with baking tray below. Preheat to 450°F.
  3. Form dough into ball and place on hot pizza stone. Pour 1–2 c. water into hot baking tray and immediately close oven door.
  4. Bake 40–45 minutes, or until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped from underneath. (If you like, open oven door 2–3 times during baking to spritz more water on the pizza stone. Alternately, to avoid the hot water method, bake bread inside dutch oven or other covered ovenproof dish. With this method, bake covered for 30 minutes and uncovered for 15.)
  5. Cool, slice, and enjoy. Bread is best the day it’s made. Alternately, store in sealed container for 2–3 days.




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