Sunday, August 4, 2013

No Knead Bread

I know there is nothing new about this no knead bread recipe. It's been around for a while now but I never really got around to trying it before. Recently however, I decided to give it a go and see how it turned out, you never know until you try. It is super easy and turns out a beautiful loaf of bread. Some of the comments I had seen mentioned that it wasn't as tall of a loaf as they would have liked, and I agree. It would be nice if it rose a little taller in the pot, but that's okay.

So obviously, there is no kneading with this recipe, very little hands on at all in fact. This does not mean however that it is quick. You have to think ahead to have this bread on your table at dinner. It requires a 12-18 hour rise after mixing the ingredients together. And after shaping it needs another 2 hours. But this is all hands off time. All you have to do is set it aside and forget about it. It doesn't get much easier than that!

As for the flavor, this bread was pretty good. The crumb inside was full of beautiful air bubbles and the top crust was beautiful golden brown. On the other hand, the bottom of this loaf got quite dark brown, almost to burned which I don't like at all. Maybe there's a way to change this, but as it was, the bottom was overcooked. Also, while the crust was beautiful, I did think it was a little tough and thick. Not horrible, but not great either. But the bread inside was flavorful and moist, perfect for dipping into your soup bowl, or smearing with a pat of butter. I think this recipe has a lot of potential, but I might need to play around with it a little to make it work for me.

No Knead Bread
  • 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
  • ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed
Mix together the flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and mix well; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic and let dough rest at least 12-18 hours, (preferably 18), at  room temperature.

When the surface of the dough is dotted with bubbles it is ready to continue. Place dough on a lightly floured work surface and sprinkle with a little flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

Gently and quickly shape dough into a ball using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking. Coat a cotton towel with plenty of flour, wheat bran or cornmeal and put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more of the flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover the dough with another cotton towel and let it rise for about 2 hours. When the dough is ready, it will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees and place a 6- to 8-quart Dutch oven inside. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide hands under towel and turn the dough over into the pot, seam side up; it may be messy, but that is okay. 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 browned beautifully. Cool on a rack before slicing

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

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