no-knead bread

In technique on January 15, 2010 at 2:33 pm

i love homemade bread, and i love it even more when i can cut corners and be lazy about it. you may remember my last bread adventure.

this “no knead” technique comes from macheesmo.

no-knead might sound great, but i should warn you now – before you run out to buy flour and yeast – that it takes 20 hours before you even put the bread in the oven. no so, you’re not having homemade bread for dinner tonight. maybe tomorrow. if you time it right.

the recipe calls for 4 cups of flour to make one  large loaf or two small. i used 3 cups of that nasty “white whole wheat” flour  from tj’s that has been screwing up my recipes recently (i was dying to use it up!) and one cup of unbleached all purpose white.

there it is. the good stuff.

to the flour, add 1/3 teaspoon dry yeast and 1 2/3 teaspoons salt. i also added  1/2 teaspoon sugar to feed the yeastie beasties and help them grow. this is pretty standard in recipes calling for yeast, so i felt comfortable making that change. mix well.

next, add 2 1/6 cups water and mix with your hands.

i wish i could have taken pics to show you what it looked like while i was mixing, but i was home alone and as you can imagine, the hands were a mess.

mix only until all the flour is wet. overmixing is always bad.

then cover with a clean towel and place the dough somewhere it can sit for 18 hours.

i chose the oven because it seemed safe.

but just to make sure, i left a nasty note taped over the knob.

that was 3pm on saturday.

at 9-something on sunday morning, i took the dough out of the oven. look how big it got!

it is very sticky, so turn it out on to a well-floured surface and add as much flour as you need to work it into a manageable ball. then i cut it in half, because this recipe makes two loaves.

i decided to get creative and make a sweet loaf and a savory loaf. rifting off my stollen recipe, i shaped the first chunk of dough into a rectangle, then sprinkled it with a couple tablespoons of a cinnamon-sugar mixture and a small handful of raisins.

then i rolled/folded it into a ball.

for the rosemary loaf, i worked in about two tablespoons of dried rosemary as i shaped it into the same sort of ball.

back into the oven to rise for another 2 hours.

not quite doubled in size… but definitely bigger.

at this point, the original recipe says that if you have a pizza stone, you should use it. well, i don’t, but i did preheat both pans to approximate the pizza stone. the super hot heat right away helps make a great crust.

other tips for great bread:

1. flip the loaves over when you put them on their baking sheet so the steam can escape (according to  macheesmo).
2. when you put the bread in the oven, also include an oven safe dish (like a cast-iron pan) with some water in it to make a nice steamy atmosphere for the bread – helps with crust (according to my mom).
3. sprinkle the baking sheet with a little cornmeal and brush the savory loaf with olive oil to also help create the best crust.
4. bread is done when it’s nice and browned on the top and has a satisfying hollow sound when you flip it over and thump the bottom.

i was totally impressed with the results of this recipe. what a perfect loaf!

and look at that cinnamon-raisin swirl!


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