Wednesday, August 14, 2013

No-Knead Bread is awesome!

I have been in a baking mood again lately. I made a Sourdough Starter, which I will post this weekend when it is ready to bake with. I did not want to wait for the yummy bread goodness, so I decided to try another bread recipe that I have seen around the internets. Originally posted by New York Times, the no-knead bread method has made the rounds in the blogs since 2008. Is it too late to say I'm jumping on the bandwagon? Probably, since the wagon is parked in storage by now...but I digress. 

The No-Knead method is very appealing to me for several reasons. 

1. It requires more time than actual effort, which works well for me. 
Time does all the work here, all you really have to do is remember when to mess with it. It took like 2 minutes to mix the dough, cover it with plastic wrap, and tuck it on top of the fridge. 

2. It is ridiculously cheap
And will be even cheaper when my Sourdough starter is ready to use and I won't even have to buy yeast! I estimate that there might be $.50 or less in this loaf of bread, depending on the flour you use. I happened to have bread flour around, but all-purpose is fine also.

3. It's delicious! Crusty on the outside, chewy and tender on the inside, with a deep, yeasty flavor that cannot be matched in bread with shorter proofing times. It really has that boutique bakery taste and texture.

4. It makes you look like an awesome, Hipster, Artisan baker!!!
You can totally make your friends and family think you are a master baker when you whip this loaf out for dinner or bring it as a Hostess or house warming gift. It looks rustic and awesome, smells amazing, and tastes even better. 

The Basic No-Knead Bread Recipe

3 cups flour plus more for flouring work surfaces
use what you have around. Bread flour is good, but all purpose works well. If you want to use whole wheat, mix it with white flour 1:2 ratio. The white flour "ferments" better and will develop better taste

1/4 teaspoon instant yeast

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups purified water
Only use tap water if you are certain it has no chlorine. Chlorine inhibits bacteria growth, and we are going for optimum yeast development here

a cast iron Dutch oven or other high-temp safe vessel with a lid to bake it in. This is an important step! I said above that time does most of the work, well the Dutch oven does the rest of the work. I have an awesome cast iron Dutch oven that was my Dads. It is a no-name brand, but has been seasoned by years of camping trips!

A cotton towel 

plastic cling wrap

cooling rack

Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl, then mix in water to form a "Shaggy" dough. It should not be liquid, but it should be too sticky to handle well.

Cover the bowl with cling wrap, and stick it in a spot where the room temp is consistent. I always use the top of the fridge for proofing dough. It is warm and out of the way. Now the waiting begins. Let that dough chill out for around 12-18hrs. I live in a hot climate, so I waited about 15 hrs so that I would not have the oven on at the hottest part of the day. 12 seems to be the minimum of consensus, but I did see a blog that the blogger got by with 8 hrs. Just make sure the dough has at least doubled, and looks bubbly and loose.

Scrape the dough out on a WELL floured surface. You will need to use a dough scraper or spatula. It will stick to the sides of the bowl.

 Flour the top of the dough and your hands, then gently spread the dough into a rough rectangle. 

Fold the dough on itself in thirds

Then in half
Cover loosely with the cling wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.

Lay out a clean, cotton towel and flour a spot for the dough very well. Cornmeal can also be used, and if you are super-fancy you can use a proofing basket. I tend to avoid single-job kitchen equipment, so I opt for a well-floured towel.

Once the dough has rested, tuck the seams under and put on the floured towel, then flour the top of the dough and wrap in the towel. Let the dough proof for 60-90 minutes. Again, super hot here so I waited an hour.

15 minutes before baking time, pre-heat the oven to 500 and put the Dutch oven in to pre-heat as well. When it is time, carefully remove the Dutch oven and remove lid.  It will smoke when you take the lid off, this is normal and means the pot is hot enough.Turn the dough out into the bottom of the Dutch oven, and give it a shake to let the dough settle on the bottom. The seams will be up now, and will act as "scoring" since the dough is too soft to actually score. I did not take a pic of this step, as I had a dog, 2 cats, and a child trying to "help" me and I was nervous someone was going to get burnt. Slap the lid back on and bake for 30 minutes. Then, turn oven down to 450 and remove the Dutch oven lid, bake for 15 minutes. Then remove the bread from the Dutch oven and on to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before slicing. This is the hardest part, by far, because it smell like heaven!

Just a note: There are lots of cool baking gadgets like sold HERE, but as I stated I don't like one-job equipment. I also like that this recipe is simple for the novice, home baker with amazing results. Whether you are a dedicated baking nerd with half of the items from the above shop in your kitchen, or this is your 1st loaf of bread, a little patience is all the skill you need for this bread to be in your belly!

No comments:

Merry Meet, Merry Part, and Merry Meet Again...

free web page counter
Get a free hit counter here.