Wednesday, January 03, 2007

No-Knead Bread

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This bread is sweeping the food blogging world (man, is my life exciting! Always on the cutting edge). According to, it " Appeared in the article The Secret of Great Bread: Let Time Do the Work by Mark Bittman in the November 8th, 2006 New York Times

Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery"

Allow at least a full 24 hours to make this, possibly more. It takes very little hands-on time during that period, but I found it needed close to 24 hours to sit the first time, and then a several hour rising period at the end of it, plus baking time. It was probably only 15 minutes of hands-on time in that period, including cleaning pots and pans. The long rise lends a wonderfully yeasty flavor (and there is a very small amount of yeast in the recipe). The bread is slightly sour and has a wonderfully flaky, crispy crust.

I baked it in a 6 qt stockpot, oven proof. Notmartha recommends a smaller pan, 4 quarts or so, but I didn't have one the right size and the loaf I made turned out beautifully. Wonderful dipped in olive oil, or toasted with butter and honey.

Recipe, with notmartha's and my adaptations:

Time: About 1 1/2 hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

- 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting (I have had good luck with both kinds of flour, and also with substituting one cup of whole wheat flour)
- 1/4 teaspoon instant [aka Rapid Rise, QuickRise, Instant Active Dry, Perfect Rise, or Bread Machine Yeast] yeast
- 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
-1 1/2 cups water
- Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed for flouring towels (I use cornmeal).

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, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees. [I put it on top of my fridge.]

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-cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes (I've always skipped this step with no problems).

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. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with cornmeal (what I use), wheat bran, or rice flour; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel 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.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart [about a 4-quart pot is preferred] 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. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 10 or 15 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1 1/2-pound loaf.

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