Friday, December 19, 2008

New York Times' No Knead Bread

This was stupidly easy. Frankly, I can't believe I haven't heard about this recipe sooner! The recipe was published in the New York Times a couple of years ago and calls for the most basic ingredients; Flour, Yeast, Salt & Water. I almost didn't make it because I didn't have a cast iron, enamel, pyrex or ceramic dish that's required for baking. Also, I have ZERO experience with using yeast. It scares me. But, I bit the bullet and bought an enameled cast iron pot that I've been wanting for a long time anyway. And, since the recipe didn't call for 'blooming' the yeast before adding it in, I figured I'd give it a whirl.
Here's the recipe from the NYT website
  • 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.

I started step #1 at about 9:45 on Thursday night. By 10pm I was done mixing the dough. Covered it with plastic wrap, and let it sit until 3pm on Friday. Super simple.

The results: A super crusty, beautifully browned loaf of artisan bread. YUM YUM. I suggest trying this one.

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  1. Isn't it amazing how beautiful this bread turns out? It always amazes me.

  2. Looks beautiful! How is the flavor? I've read a few reviews that state it's more beautiful that it tastes. I might give this a try and if it's not as flavorful I could always use it for fondue or maybe bread pudding :)

  3. I think the flavor is very...neutral...
    If I make it again (which I will) I'd probably add more salt to it. It was fantastic for mopping up the broccoli cheddar chowder soup I made. I think I'm going to use the rest of it for French Toast. It was pretty tasty with a couple chunks of sharp cheddar on it too.