Tuesday, January 22, 2008
The COG found a recipe for No-Knead Bread and tried it. It was from Cook's Illustrated- a supposedly superior (and more complicated) recipe. Coincidentally, the very same day, I found a reference to the original version, which was by Mark Bittman of the NYTimes and which was much simpler. My original thought was that it was fun, but not that useful. However, after reading about it, I decided it was worthwhile. And I've been making it ever since.
The important point is: this isn't about saving work (I can use the bread maker or my mixer to make dough, if I don't want to knead), this is about the science of bread making. The small amount of yeast and the long long slow rising - nearly 24 hours by the time it's done - actually changes the character of the bread, creating a lovely, crusty, loaf with wonderful texture. It's divine. Try it. It could be made by a 6 year old - it's that simple.
3 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon yeast
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 5/8 cups water
1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups 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.
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.
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 flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or 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 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 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
Yield: 1 1/2 pound loaf
Posted by The Bride at 9:49 PM