Friday, December 26, 2008

Breadmaking for the lazy.

I find myself in Connecticut, separated from the 'Ley-made sourdough starter but with all this bread-making time on my hands.  But, of course, also, I am commitedly lazy.  Luckily, there is a solution: no-knead bread.  Even better: eight-hour no-knead bread.  NEVER COMPROMISE.

This recipe is delicious and easy, and makes a non-overwhelming, small loaf.  I will write it up in 7th grade lab report form.  Also, I'm converting the original blog post's recipe into numbered step form because that is easier for me to refer to.

This bread will be delicious, and not involve kneading.

1.5 C bread flour (we used King Arthur)
2.25 tsp active dry yeast (one packet)
1 tsp salt
0.75 C water at room temperature
a sprinkle of cornmeal
Oil (we used tea oil, but olive oil or vegetable oil is probably fine)

1. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, yeast, and salt.
2. Stir in water.  "Dough should be shaggy and a little wet."  There is no better descriptor in the world for this consistency than "shaggy and a little wet."
3. Place in a large, well-oiled bowl and cover in plastic wrap.  Let rest for 8-10 hours (like while you sleep.)
4. The dough should be dotted with bubbles.  Turn out onto a floured surface and form into a ball (you may need lots of flour.)
5. Let rest for 15 minutes uncovered.
6. Cover dough with a dishtowel or other cloth (not a terrycloth towel for some reason.)  I think you might should flour the cloth too.  Let rise for 2 hours.
7.  30 minutes before the 2 hours is up, place your dutch oven/casserole/covered oven-safe pot into the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.
8. At the appropriate, preheated time, remove the receptacle (I used a casserole) from the oven and sprinkle the bottom with cornmeal.  Place the loaf inside and bake for 25 minutes covered.
9. Then bake for another 20 minutes uncovered.

Results and Analysis

Eight-hour no knead bread, exterior.

Eight-hour no knead bread, interior.

It all turned out to plan.  The crust was a tiny bit on the chewy side, but whatevs.

Pretty great for a first try, and it was wicked easy.  I'd recommend everybody to try it.  Next time, will try spraying with water while it's in the oven to see if that will make the crust crustier.  May also try mixing in other kinds of flour.

Next time: a cautionary tale on impatience and sourdough!

1 comment:

Alicia Carrier said...

i enjoyed your 7th grade report on no-knead bread. i wish, i really wish- that i could take credit for the phrase, "shaggy and a little wet" but i nabbed it from the original NY times article about the no-knead bread. i had the same moment of 'duh' when i made the dough the first time- i looked at it and thought, "huh. it IS shaggy and a little wet."