Friday, November 11, 2011

Bread That Almost Makes Itself: No Knead Bread

Happy Friday everyone! The holiday season is rapidly approaching.  Christmas lights are strung, ornaments are out for sale, snow is falling here in Denver, and Thanksgiving is a mere two weeks away.  Today happens to be another holiday: Veteran's Day.  I have a lovely late start today, and I am thankful for the causal scheduling error.  While downloading food pictures from the past couple weeks, I am struggling to decide which recipe to post.
I recently discovered the wonderful invention of Jim Lahey two years ago: no knead bread.  However, there seem to be endless modified versions floating around cyber space.  The original recipe calls for 14-20 hours of rise time.  My patience is much too short for that.  I found a recipe derived by Mark Bittman, columnist for the New York Times that called for only 4 1/2 hours of rise time.  I have changed it a bit to use part whole grain flour, and that addition required an additional rise time.  The bread is a dense, hearty, country-style loaf that pairs perfectly with soups, stews and pastas.  It is a bit small for sandwich bread, but I have used it alright. 

Speedy No Knead Bread
  • 1 packet (1/4 ounce) instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • Olive oil as needed
  1. Combine flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add water and stir until blended, dough should be "shaggy."
  2. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or bread towel and let rise at warm room temperature (70 degrees or more) for about 5 hours.
  3. Lightly oil a work surface and gently roll dough out of bowl onto it, fold the dough over one or two times, cover with plastic wrap or towel again and allow to rise for an additional 45 minutes.
  4. At least 30 minutes before baking, put a dutch oven or one of these alternatives in the oven and let it heat to 450 degrees.
  5. Slide your hand under the dough and transfer to dutch oven.  Bake covered for 30 minutes, then uncovered for about 15 more minutes or until crust is browned.
  6. Transfer to cooling rack and cool at least 30 minutes before slicing and enjoy!

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