Tuesday, February 2, 2010

No-Knead Bread


You could say I’m a little behind on this trend. While the rest of the world experienced this easy no knead bread, I was still trying my best to make more complicated bread recipes…and failing miserably. I haven’t quite given up on conquering yeast, but it was so nice to have at least one bread recipe that was a success. I must say, making bread is no short task. It definitely takes some planning in order to have time for each step. I started this loaf on a Saturday evening and baked it Sunday afternoon. It was definitely worth the wait, and I’m excited to try different versions of this no knead recipe! For those that might not be familiar with this ingenious recipe created by Jim Lahey, it is a super simple way to make artisan breads and easy enough that anyone can recreate. There are so many U-tube videos out there of this recipe too, so if you want a demo they are easy to find.

No-Knead Bread

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3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus more for dusting

1/4 teaspoon instant yeast

1 1/4 teaspoon salt

Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed

In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, 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.

Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle 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.

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 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.

At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6 to 8 quart heavy covered pot (such as cast iron) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up. 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 for another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is brown. Cool on a rack.

Source: Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery

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