17 February 2010

Cooking - No Knead Bread





I love baking bread but my loaves never tend to be as light and fluffy because of my extremely poor kneading technique. I just don't have the muscles! I must have come across this recipe for No Knead Bread about a year ago, I have no idea why it took me such a long time to make it. It came up on a few more blogs recently and so I set aside some time this weekend to make it.

This bread is not about instant gratification, due to the first prove being 20 hours long, but it is about very very little effort.

Because of the long proving process the dough is beautifully light and airy with very little effort. Also it has a higher water content than conventional bread recipes so you get a beautiful crisp crust.

No Knead Bread
makes approx 1 1lb loaf

This recipe comes from the New York times so my measurements are in cups, apologies to those in the UK! I believe you can buy cups in John Lewis, Lakeland and some supermarkets now. I got mine on ebay for about £5.

Ingredients:
3 cups strong white bread flour
1/4 tsp instant yeast (this will use very little of a 7g packet)
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups of lukewarm water



Put your flour in a large bowl, add in the yeast and the salt.
Then add in your water and stir until you have a soft sloppy dough, like a very thick cake batter. Add a touch more water if your mix seems a little dry.

Then all you need to do is cover the bowl with cling film and leave in a warm non draughty place for a minimum of 12 but up to 20 hours, I left mine for 20 hours.

After your first prove the dough will be bubbly and light like this:
Drop your dough onto a very well floured surface and form into a rough round shape with wet hands. Your hands won't stick to the dough if they are wet.
Drop this dough into a bowl lined with a floured cotton towel. Cover with the towel and leave to prove for 1-2 hours, I left mine for 1 1/2 and it was fine. It should double in size.

Half an hour before your dough is ready heat up your pot. Set your oven to gas mark 8 / 450f / 230c. You need to use a thick strong pot, such as a casserole dish, with a lid. I used a big stoneware dish. If I had a Le Creuset it would be perfect for this!

When your dough is ready add it to your pot. The recipe I used said to line with greaseproof paper if your pot isn't non stick, unfortunately I did this (and floured the paper) and the dough stuck! So I would recommend oiling your paper or just flouring your pot very well.

Bake your loaf for 30 minutes covered, then for another 20 minutes uncovered to crisp the crust. It should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Leave to cool for 5-10minutes afterwards, then slice into big chunks and serve with proper butter!





8 comments:

Isa Maria said...

Have you tried 'Artisan bread in 5 mins a day'? The book is fantastic and the bread comes out great even without using most of the things they recommend (pizza stone etc). It's also in cups (I got mine from Sainsburys) but so easy and perfect if you eat a lot of bread, pizza, focaccia. You make a batch then keep it in the fridge for up to a week. It changed my life!

Paperfection said...

Fantastic, thanks for sharing!

Paperfection said...

Isa Maria, would you share a recipe?

Deepa said...

I have heard of that book, I thought it looked brilliant, I really must buy it now after your recommendation. :)

fleurfatale said...

ooh, the bread looks so yummie! need to try it one of these days!

Paperfection said...

Found a recipe for Artisan Bread in 5 Mins a Day on: http://www.instructables.com/id/Artisan_Bread_in_Five_Minutes_a_Day/
Looks fairly similar to yours, Giraffe, except that you keep some dough in the fridge for other days!

Colours and Textures said...

That looks really good!

ingermaaike said...

I make fresh bread every day, but let my kitchen aid do all the work :-D
Nothing as delicious as buttered bread fresh from the oven !