Wednesday, September 12, 2007

No Knead Bread

It was late last year that I first read about the No-Knead Bread on one of the food blogs I watch regularly. Since I have and do make homemade yeast bread (not often, but on occasion), it was not a big deal to think about it and do it, although I could hardly believe it could be THAT good when making it is THAT easy. Truly it is.

You need little more than flour, salt, water, yeast, a heavy-duty iron pot (like Le Crueset) with a lid, and about 24 hours. Of that 24, only about 5 minutes of it requires any hands-on work. The rest of the time the bread is just sitting, doing its thing. And really, you absolutely do not knead it. I love the ciabatta bread from Il Fornaio or La Brea Bakery. But I had no idea making that kind of holey moist bread could be such a cinch. I've made it for guests several times. And just for us several times too. It keeps just fine for a day at room temp. I usually slice it up on the 2nd day (if there is any left over, that is), wrap the slices in foil, then pop them in a ziploc plastic bag and into the freezer.
If you head over to Jaden's Blog - Jaden's Steamy Kitchen, you'll find a long and beautifully photographed blog posting all about this bread. And how her 4-year old son (who is adorable besides) made it. If he can do it, you can do it.
A fellow named Jim Lahey, of the Sullivan Street Bakery in New York (photo at top is from the bakery's website), developed this recipe. I found watching the video of making this very helpful. It's on the New York Times' website. Hope it's still there. Here's the link to it. I'm glad I did because I might have done a couple of things differently. I used an oval Le Crueset pan (with lid) and it worked just perfectly. I will say that the bottom crust is VERY firm, which requires a firm hand to slice through. You can use a smaller pot and you'll likely have a higher-rising bread. By the way, Le Crueset does not guarantee the black knobs on their pots will survive in an oven over 400°. However, several other people who have made this bread say they have had no problem with the knob. I used one with side handles and no black knobs. You may also use any other kind of pot - with a lid. If the dough comes out too moist, remove the lid sooner in the baking process.

In my Dacor oven (runs a bit hot) I bake this at 425° for 30 minutes, then remove lid and continue baking for another 15. Each oven is different. Initially the crust was too hard, which is why I reduced the temperature and removed it earlier from the oven. I also mix the flour - half bread, half regular all-purpose. Others who have made this say you can vary flours in small quantities. If you add too much whole wheat, however, it most likely will not rise sufficiently.

No-Knead Bread (Yes, really)
Recipe By :Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery, New York
Serving Size : 10
3 cups all-purpose flour -- or mixture with bread flour
1/4 teaspoon rapid rise yeast
1 5/8 cups water -- plus 1-2 tablespoons
2 teaspoons salt Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed
1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt and stir to distribute dry ingredients before adding the water. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. If it's not sticky, add another tablespoon of water if you have any idea it's too dry. 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. 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.
Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 137 Calories; trace Fat (2.5% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 29g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 428mg Sodium. Exchanges: 2 Grain(Starch).
To view a printable recipe, click title at top.


SteamyKitchen said...

Thanks for the shout-out!


Anonymous said...

My daughter and I made this bread. in fact, we each made a loaf. I used a spoon to mix the dough, she used her hands and thought that was the greatest thing, and claims that is why her loaf was better than mine.

The bread was awesome. I would definately make it again.

Thanks mom!!