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Thursday
Jan142010

The Miracle of No Knead Bread

 

It has taken me way too long to try this bread. I’ve baked thousands of loaves of bread and I believe and love kneading. I was being stubborn. This recipe was published in The New York Times in 2005. I honestly did not believe that it could be that good. I was wrong.

It is shockingly easy to make, requiring under 15 minutes of actual working time. The remaining 11 3/4 hours are spent with the dough sitting quietly by itself, bubbling away happily. The resulting bread is moist, chewy,with a beautiful and crunchy crust.

Baking the bread in a smoking hot covered pan (I use my Lodge Dutch oven) allows the steam from the wet bread dough create the beautiful crust.

I read somewhere that this bread “sings” when removed from the pan. I was intrigued. It’s true! Lovely little crackling noises come from it  when it’s  lifted from the pan. Take a moment to listen to this little miracle. 

The bread is great on it’s own or made into toast and sandwiches. We had a small chunk left at the end of the third day which I made into Papa al Pomodoro with our home canned sweet summer tomatoes. Heaven.......

 

 

No Knead Yeast Bread

Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery via the Smitten Kitchen:

 

Yields one 1 1/2 pound loaf

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
2 tsp. Kosher salt

1 5/8 cups water
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours and up to 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees. If you do this in the late afternoon, it will be ready for the next step when you get up in the morning.

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. (I do this in the original rising bowl with the help of a plastic pastry scraper) 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.(Again I use the pastry scraper & it works like a charm) 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.(I’ve had better luck with plastic wrap) Cover with another cotton towel or plastic wrap 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.

  1. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450°F. 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. You can also line the bottom of your pan with a circle of parchment paper, which will allow you to reposition the dough Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 20 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

 

Should you have any bread that gets stale, try this soup:

 

Papa al Pomodoro                                                  Yield: 6 servings 

                (Tuscan Bread and Tomato Soup) 

Ingredients

Yellow Onion - 1 medium, diced

Fresh Garlic Cloves - 2-3 minced

Chile Flakes - 1/2 tsp

 Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 3 TBL + more for drizzling

Large ripe tomatoes - 5  or use 28 ounces canned 

Day old Rustic Italian Bread - 2 1/2 cups torn into pieces

Chicken stock - 4 cups

Fresh Basil - 12 leaves shredded 

Parmigiano Reggiano - 1/4- 1/2 cup shaved for garnish

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 

 

Variation:

I had half of a fennel bulb, so I finely chopped that & cooked it with the onion, then added a few toasted fennel seeds at the end.

 

 Procedure: 

Saute chopped onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent. 

Peel and chop tomatoes (discard skins) 

Add chile flakes, tomatoes and chicken stock to the onions & garlic. 

Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Add bread pieces & simmer until bread has completely softened. 

Taste for seasoning & add salt and pepper as needed. 

This soup may be served, hot, cold or at room temperature. 

Ladle soup into shallow bowls. Top with shredded basil,a little Parmigiano Reggiano & a 

drizzle of the best fruity olive oil. 

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