Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Let Us Eat No Knead Bread!

I finally succumbed to trying the New York Times' famous "No Knead" Bread. And they're right, it's perfect, it's simple, it's foolproof. You gotta try it. I may never buy another loaf again....

It is only 4 ingredients: flour, yeast, salt, water. And it simply involves mixing (no yeast proofing) and allowing the batter to rise. It does require that you have a specific type of oven pot (mine is an enamel coated cast iron) with a lid. You can use any non-metal baking dish with a lid - Corning Ware, Cast Iron, Dutch Oven, etc). It's genius!

I've made it with all whole wheat flour, half whole wheat and half white bread flour, and half rye and half white bread flour with caraway seeds. Being a big fan of rye, the last is my favorite and it has such a deliciously chewy texture that I thought was only possible in a store bought bread.

The trick is in the extreme moistness of the dough and the fact that it is cooked in a pot with a lid on in the oven. This seems to simulate the steam injection of commercial ovens which creates a crisp, crunchy crust and moist and tender "crumb" or interior. Hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

No Knead Whole Wheat Bread

3 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups white bread flour
1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 x 1 5/8 cups water (I couldn't begin to figure out how to double this)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl that will allow dough to double.

It will look too wet; it's not. Just be sure to mix in all of the flour well. Cover with plastic and secure tightly. I use a cut open plastic bag and a rubber band. Allow to sit at room temperature (at least 68 degrees) for 18-24 hours.

Remove plastic and dust counter or cutting board with flour and pour dough until it. It will be very sticky so make sure to have flour nearby for your hands.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and place pot and lid in the oven. The pot needs to heat for at least 30 minutes in 450 degree oven. After the pot has preheated for at least 30 minutes, remove from oven and carefully pour the dough into the pot and place the lid on top. For the whole wheat bread, bake for 45 minutes with the lid on. Check the bread for doneness by slipping a knife in and make sure it comes out clean. If there's a little moistness on the tip, keep it in another 5 minutes, and keep checking. When it's done it will look like this.

The bread will slide easily out of the pan. Set it out on a drying rack for at least 30 minutes before cutting into it, if you can restrain yourself. It's best to allow breads to cool as much as possible since cutting into them drys them out. However, it's really hard to hold back!

Here you can see how lovely the crust is while still providing a moist but dense crumb (as bakers call the inside of the bread.) This is the rye and caraway seed bread and it is soooo good!

Love and hugs!


marjukka said...

Wow! I haven't checked your blog for a while and it looks like you have been busy. Great recipes, I'll try the bread. Do you think it'll work in a cast-iron dutch oven? That's all I have.

Kirsten Lindquist said...

It would be fantastic in a cast-iron dutch oven! Let me know how it goes.

Eve Fox said...

wow, that is awesome! I will have to try that.