The idea of baking bread all day -- or overnight -- in a warm oven isn't new, but it is a technique near lost in a time where high temperatures and energy savings rule our households. However, if you're willing to experiment, the folks at Lucky Peach revive this Yemenite Jewish tradition in a way you can replicate at home.
Photo: Lucky Peach
The resulting bread you get from this low and slow technique is unlike anything else you might come across, they note:
But bread baked in a low oven for eight to fourteen hours is very, very delicious: a cross between brioche, a toasted croissant, and the best Hawaiian roll you've ever had. Cooked this way, yeasted dough becomes light and feathery, with the not-insignificant amount of butter dispersed without any arduous lamination. After hours in the oven, the crust and crumb become a deep gold, but take on totally different textures: the outside toasty, the inside soft. It's wild.
This technique is not new, but it's not widely known outside of Israel. It comes from the Yemenite Jewish community, who use it to make two breads: jachnun, an unyeasted dough somewhat similar to phyllo, and kubaneh, a tall, brioche-like, yeasted specimen.
Kubaneh is a bit simpler to make than jachnun, and ideal for anyone who wants to give this a try, let's say, instead of while you're sleeping, maybe while you work at home all day or if you're a homebody who loves bread. All you need are the basic ingredients you'd use for just about any bread; a nice tall-walled, ovenproof pot or Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid; and, of course, an oven to bake the whole thing in.
Their Kubaneh recipe takes about 10 1/2 hours, almost entirely unattended -- that's how hands-off it is, and the results are worth the wait. Hit the link below for the full story, and links to the individual recipes at the bottom.
How to Bake Bread While You Sleep [Lucky Peach]