Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Better Late Than Never... NYT No Knead Bread

If you're into food and spend some time on the internet, chances are you've seen this recipe before. I know I have, but bread is something I just don't make often enough. The recipe for No Knead Bread was introduced by Mark Bittman in the New York Times food section in November of 2006. Here's the link. I had heard mention of it before, but didn't look at the recipe until sometime last week. Amazing! Only 4 ingredients (including the cornmeal for dusting), and most of the time spent on this recipe was watching TV or reading blogs while the dough just does its own thing. It does take a little bit of planning ahead, since it's a recipe that takes two days to prepare. Lucky for me, I had the right amount of time off work to ensure we would have fresh baked bread for dinner the next night. And really, if you have a normal 9-5 type job, you could still easily plan ahead and make this on a week night.

I think the fact I ate about 4 slices with our pasta that night was a sign of how I felt about this bread! It was really moist with a great crusty outside. Simple flavor, and was nice and chewy. I ate it sliced and plain, and also toasted it. It was great for dinner, and for caprese inspired sandwiches the night night, and for a couple mornings worth of toast. I will be making this again, and most likely soon! Once the weather turns fall-like this will be great with soup. As soon as I bit into this I knew where all the hype came from. If it weren't for the "Beard on Bread" recipe that is rising in my kitchen right now, I think I'd be craving more of this loaf right now!

New York Times No Knead Bread
Published: November 8, 2006
Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

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

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: One 1½-pound loaf.


Anonymous said...

I have had this on my to-make list for so long now! I am glad it turned out well for you, looks delicious!

TheKitchenWitch said...

I am afraid of yeast, but this sounds simple enough that maybe I could do it...

A World in a PAN said...

I admire people who knead bread ... takes time and labor, even if this recipe seems simpler for great results.