March 27, 2007

No Knead Bread

My friend John, a native Iowan, passed along a great article from the Des Moines Register the other day about a girl that foudn the pefect bread recipe that requires no kneading!

The recipe they're talking about, "No-Knead Bread," was published in the Nov. 8 New York Times in a column by "The Minimalist," Mark Bittman.Bittman authored
the straightforward recipe book "How to Cook Everything," but based in the popularity of this recipe he could have made a career off bread alone.

He adapted the bread recipe from a Manhattan baker, Jim Lahey of the Sullivan Street Bakery. The innovative "no-knead" technique attracted the food-blogging community - a massive network of online diarists who trade recipes and product reviews.That group turned the idea from an easy-to-bake bread into a phenomenon, moving the recipe for a simple loaf onto the New York Times' most-e-mailed stories list.The loaf takes 24 hours to make, but very little work.

No-Knead Bread
Yields a 11/2 pound loaf
Recipe time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours of rising

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
11/4 teaspoons saltCornmeal 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 room temperature, or 70 degrees, for at least 12 hours (up to 24 hours is OK). 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) or Silpat mat 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 2 to 3 hours.

When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with 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) 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's OK. 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.

Remove from oven. Cool on a rack.This recipe was adapted for the New York Times from Jim Lahey of the Sullivan Street Bakery in New York City.

Notes: Be sure yeast is labeled instant or rapid-rise. Use King Arthur flour.

The recipe works with up to 20 percent rye flour, up to 30 percent whole-grain flour and up to 50 percent whole-wheat flour, according to Mark Bittman of the New York Times.

Want to add seasoning or other ingredients? Bittman recommends putting in herbs, nuts, dried fruits, olives or other additions after mixing the dough, but they can be incorporated during the folding, before the dough's second rising.

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