Sunday, January 9, 2011

Bread for Lazy People -aka- No-Knead Bread

I'd been aware of no-knead bread for quite some time but not having an adequate pot to bake it in it had never been more than a passing fancy. Until I started seeing the latest crop of recipes and pictures of it everywhere. I read the Patent and the Pantry recipe, I read the version in the New York Times that she adapted hers from, I read about Jim Lahey's book, and then I put a dutch oven on my Christmas wish list.

My recipe is not an exact representation of any of the aforementioned ones, but really, they're all pretty close. I love Gwen's method of letting the second rise occur on the parchment paper.

No Knead Bread
-adapted from Jim Lahey, the New York Times and Gwen from Patent and the Pantry-

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus more for dusting
1 5/8 cups water
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt

Mix dry ingredients together in large bowl. Add water. Stir together into a sticky mess. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit on counter for 12 - 18 hours (I recommend mixing it up around 6 pm on a Friday so it can sit over night).

The next morning take a look at it, the surface should have a ton of tiny bubbles. This is good. Flour a work surface and plop the dough on it. Sprinkle flour on to of the dough blob and on your hands to keep them from sticking. Fold dough over on itself a couple of time, cover loosely with plastic wrap (I use the same wrap that was on the bowl) and let it sit for 15 minutes.

Re-flour your hands and form the dough into a ball. Plop ball onto sheet of parchment paper, cover with a clean towel and place in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 2 more hours. (For ease, I wash the mixing bowl during the 15 minute rest and drop the parchment paper right in it for the second rise. That was the towel doesn't touch the dough and if the loaf starts to spread it stays ball shaped). The dough is ready when it is almost doubled in size.

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 my brand new enamel cast iron Kirkland Signature pot from Costco which is awesome and 6 times less money than a Le Creuset - hence my ability to own one) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Pick up the parchment paper, drop it in the HOT pot (seriously, it's hot, don't touch it with your bare hands).

Cover with lid and bake 25 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes (2o minutes for me in Calgary), until loaf is a nice brown. Pick up the parchment paper by the corners, remove loaf from pot and cool on a rack.

After it's cool, slice it open and smear with butter. It's remarkably airy for homemade bread (because of the long slow rise) and there are good air pockets throughout.

No comments:

Post a Comment