Thursday, March 29, 2007

No-Knead Bread

After reading so much about this bread, I just had to give it a try. And so easy! A minimal effort really yielded a nice, airy loaf with a chewy crust. I was impressed. Very nice loaf. Huge holes--great texture. This recipe was posted in the NY Times Dining & Wine Section, November 8, 2006.

I used 3 generous cups of bread flour and 1 1/2 cups of water instead of the 1 5/8 cups listed. After mixing flour, yeast, salt, and water (cool, filtered directly from fridge), I covered with plastic and let ferment for 16 hours and proof 2 1/2 hours. The dough was very sticky--it stuck to the floured towel. I thought it might turn into a disaster but I was able to turn it out onto the baking stone. Following advice from other blogs, next time I will turn dough onto a floured silpat mat, cutting board, or parchment instead of the towel and cover with plastic wrap. I also might try baking in covered dish.

Instead of a Dutch oven, I baked the bread directly on a preheated baking stone and it turned out fine. I misted water into the oven 5-6 times during the first 15 min. of baking, generating steam important for a crisp crust. Total, it baked about 30 min. What a wonderful, artisanal bread--and no kneading!! With a slathering of butter, this loaf did not last long! Continue for recipe

No-Knead Bread

Yields one 1 1/2 pound loaf

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting (3 large cups of bread flour)
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water (I used 1 1/2), and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats (I just used a stone and misted the oven at the beginning of baking). When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

1 comment:

kitchenmage said...

Oh my! Look at that open crumb. That is just lovely.