Monday, December 22, 2008

No-Knead Bread

While I am behind on the whole “oh my gosh! No-knead bread is amazing!” but oh my gosh! No-knead bread is amazing! It’s crusty and yummy and perfect for just eating or sandwiches or just eating. It made me feel a little bad because of how good it was versus how much work I had to put in, but wow! It’s really that good. With this cold weather, the warmth and smell of baking bread is just what I need. You can see the original recipe here.

No Knead Bread from NY Times:

3 c. all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ tsp. instant yeast
1¼ tsp. salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed

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. It’s been super cold here, so I let mine go for about 20 hours, even with the heat on, just in case.

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.

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. Again, it’s been cold, so I let it go a little longer, about 30 minutes.

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.

See how long it lasts. About a quarter of ours was gone before we even got dinner ready.

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