Sunday, July 13, 2008
NO KNEAD BREAD
When I first saw this recipe for no knead bread, I almost passed it by because I happen to love to knead. It garnered so much praise, however, that I felt I had to try it. Of course, the fact that I could use my beautiful Le Creuset Dutch oven was the clincher. How I wish I'd bought this beauty 20 years ago!
The recipe is adapted from Mark Bittman of the New York Times, who got it from the Sullivan Street Bakery. Apparently, it set the blogging community on its heels a year or so back. Coming late to the world of blogging, I offer it now, particularly to some of my readers--who shall go nameless--who sometimes find the kitchen rather more of a challenge than they bargained for (remind me to tell you the one about the crockpot chicken some day!).
The smell of freshly-baked bread is always prosaic, but you'll want to bottle this perfume. The crust was perfect; the density of the loaf was wonderful; and, I'm guessing Larry's having French toast for breakfast (it's day old bread now). Surely, the kitchen gods are smiling this morning.
No Need to Knead Bread = 1 1/2 lb loaf
3 cups bread flour
1/4 tsp instant yeast
3/4 tbs Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
covered pot (5 qt or larger cast iron, enamel, Pyrex...something that can go into a 450 degree oven)
12 - 20 HOURS BEFORE
Mix the dough: Combine all ingredients in a big bowl with a wooden spoon until the dough just comes together. It will be a shaggy-looking mess. Cover carefully with plastic wrap and let it sit on the countertop for 12 - 20 hours.
The dough will be wet, sticky, and bubbly after its 12-20 hour rest. With a wet spatula (or wet hands), dump the dough (unceremoniously, if you like) onto a floured surface and fold the ends of the dough over a few times with the spatula, nudging it into a ball shape. Take a clean cotton towel (NOT terry cloth) and dust it generously with flour. Set the dough, seam side down, on top of the towel and fold towel over the dough. Let it nap for 2 hours. A half hour before it is done napping, put the covered pot into a 450 degree oven.
At this point, your dough should have doubled in size. Carefully remove the very hot pot from the oven and dump the dough into the pot. Shake to even dough out. Cover and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 15-20 minutes until the crust is beautifully golden (inside loaf should be about 210 degrees, if you wish to check it). Remove and let cool on wire rack. You can re-crisp the crust--if you don't polish off the whole loaf right there--in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.
Although I personally love to knead, this is a great way for a non-baker to get the satisfaction of pulling a beautiful, delicious loaf of bread from the oven with very little fuss.