Saturday, January 29, 2011

BREAD - So Easy To Make Even I Could Do It....

BREAD – So Easy To Make Even I Could Do It…

Yup, bread even I could make!  I didn’t - but I could!  Richard did, though.

This no-knead bread recipe was created by Jim Lahey, owner of the Sullivan Street Bakery in NYC’s SoHo district and I loved every “crusty on the outside, soft on the inside” morsel. 

No story to tell… just that nothing smells better than bread baking in your own oven.  And nothing tastes better then slicing open a warm loaf, ‘slathering’ on some butter and taking a bite. 

No labor intensity… No expensive bread-making machines…  Go for it!

No-knead bread.   No need to wait. 

No-Knead Bread

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1-5/8 cups of water
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1-1/4 teaspoon salt.
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed

In large bowl combine flour, yeast, salt.  Add 1-5/8 cups water and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky.  Cover bowl w/ plastic wrap.  Let dough rest at least 12 hours (preferably about 18 hours), at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

Dough is ready when surface is dotted w/ bubbles.  Lightly flour work surface (Richard uses his large marble ‘cutting’ board or our marble counter-top); place dough on it.  Sprinkle w/ a little more flour, and fold dough over on itself once or twice.  Cover loosely w/ plastic wrap; let rest for about 15 minutes.

Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball.  Generously coat cotton towel (not terry cloth) w/ flour, wheat bran or cornmeal;  put dough on towel, seam-side down.  Dust w/ more four, bran or cornmeal.  Cover w/ another cotton towel; let rise for about 2 hours.  When ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked w/ a finger.

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 – Richard uses our Le Creuset ‘soup’ pot) in oven as it heats.

When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven.  Slide hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up (it may look like a mess, but that’s OK) Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.  Cover w/ lid, bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned.

Our oven cooks ‘fast’ so Richard baked it for only 15 minutes after removing the lid.

Cool on rack.

Yield:  One 1-1/2 pound loaf

Time:  about 1-1/2 hours, plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising time


Sandy K. said...

Richard finally saw the light! Isn't the no-knead bread wonderful? I'm at the stage with the technique where I'm comfortable playing around with the basic formula, which works out to a 4:3 ratio of flour to water. I like to measure my ingredients by weight (as Leahy does in his book), since a cup of flour can vary by weight as much as 2 oz. (should be 5 oz. to the cup, but depending on how you fill it, it can be as little as 4 oz. or as much as 6.).

Last night I made an Italian semolina loaf with sesame seeds on top. Fabulous! Not in the book, but I just played with the general formula and it worked out beautifully. Had a slice this morning with some jam and gruyere cheese and I was in bread heaven.

Richard said...

Seriously, if anyone has ever hesitated about making bread because of the difficulty factor (all those risings and kneadings and fallings and failings...) this is so, so easy, and you do wind up with restaurant quality, crusty on the outside, soft on the inside bread... Kudos to Jim Lahey for dreaming it up, and for the NY Times for featuring the recipe.

Ann said...

I can't wait to try this.

Caroline said...

I was just thinking today that I should make some bread. I bought the book Sandy talked about last year, bit I never got around to doing it. Maybe this will inspire me.

Susan H. said...

Thanks. Can't wait to try this.