Thursday, June 11, 2009

Update on No-Knead Bread

After writing in a previous blog about how home-made bread is disappearing, a reader, Stellaa, asked me if I'd tried no-knead bread. I hadn't. So, I googled it, and found: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/081mrex.html

I made a few minor changes -- I used my 3 quart dutch oven, rather than the 6 - 8 quart model recommended in the article. I sprayed my pan with no-stick stuff, which I'm not sure is necessary, but it's a precaution that usually makes clean-up easier. I used my silicone rolling mat and a dish towel to cover it, rather than a couple of floured rolling mats as suggested. Silicone rolling mats are super fast to clean up, unlike the cloth ones that have to go in the laundry after I shake them out in the yard. And I didn't flour my dish cloth that I used to cover the rising dough.

I'm pleased. This bread is delicious. It requires no experience -- my first loaf was light and well-shaped as well as tasty. It only used 1/4 teaspoon of yeast, which is great because yeast has more than doubled in price in the past few years. It requires no honey. And despite the fact that it takes 20 hours to make, it requires very little time and attention. All you need to do is let the very wet dough rise for 12 to 18 hours in a bowl, covered with an old plastic bag. Dump the very wet and bubbly dough onto a floured rolling cloth. Flap it around a bit until the dough is coated with flour. Cover the goopy dough again with the old plastic bag. Let it sit 15 minutes. Shape it into a ball -- basically quickly flap it around a bit more. Cover with the dish cloth for 2 hours. At about 1.5 hours, put the dutch oven with its lid in the real oven, and set the oven to 450 Farenheit. At the 2 hour point, remove the dutch oven from the real oven, lift off the lid, dump the very wet and bubbly dough which is now about double in size, off the rolling cloth into the dutch oven. If the dough lumps up toward one side, or is otherwise not even, shake the dutch oven (with hot pads or mits on your hands). The wet dough will settle quickly. Put the lid back on the dutch oven. Put the dutch oven back into the real oven. After 30 minutes open the oven door and remove the lid from the dutch oven. Let the bread bake another 15 to 30 minutes until nicely browned on top. That's it.
Nothing in this recipe seems to be an absolute requirement. I never measure accurately. I have a 1/2 cup measuring cup in my flour cannister. I scoop with it. When the rising time is 12 to 18 hours, you know you don't have to be precise. This bread works, and there's really nothing to learan. Just read and approximately follow the directions. I recommend starting it late enough at night the day before you want to eat it, that it's ready for the final 2 hours when you get home from work the next day. Or do it on a weekend. Enjoy. Thank you Stellaa.

2 comments:

  1. My DH has been using this recipe for awhile now. He's tweaked the recipe to his liking too. He also has found it easier to bake the dough on a baking stone (using a silicone mat instead of having the clean the stone) & inverting the dutch oven pot over that (he had struggled with getting the bread out once it is done).

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  2. How do you shape the bread on a stone? My dough was goopy before it cooked. What else do you do with a stone?

    I didn't have any trouble getting the bread out of the pan. That no-stick spray works.

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