Saturday, April 4, 2009

no knead forever and ever.

NICELOAF

This is your friendly reminder that no-knead bread is AWESOME. I love having this recipe tucked away in my brain to pull out in a pinch, like this week when I had mini-quiches on the menu again (this time with pureed kale mixed in with the eggs, poured over caramelized onions and gorgonzola!) and I didn't have anything to go on the side. We ran out of bread early in the week, and the evening before quiche night, I quickly whipped together a batch of dough and let it rest overnight on the counter. I had it in the oven by the following afternoon, and that evening we had fresh bread with our eggs. Somehow, we managed to restrain ourselves, and we still have half a loaf, waiting to be topped with poached eggs for breakfast tomorrow.

NICELOAF2

In case you've forgotten, the recipe is (from memory, snagged from the NY Times):

HELLO! READ THIS! You need a deep, oven-safe dish with a lid for this. The material isn't really crucial, so don't sob if you don't have a Le Creuset dutch oven. (I don't. Mom? Christmas? J/K MOM I LOVE YOU.) The lid keeps the steam in so that a nice crust can form while the dough bakes. I use an oven-safe stainless steel stock pot (you've seen it around here) but you can use a glass casserole dish with a lid, or a cast iron guy, or whatever you have that is oven safe.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp instant yeast (for this loaf, I used a full teaspoon of yeast so that it'd be ready by morning. You can play around with the amount of yeast if you have time constraints, but the longer you can let it rest, the better the loaf will be.)
1 1/4 tsp salt
about 1 1/2 cups of water
a pinch of cornmeal

Whisk together dry ingredients to combine evenly. Slowly add water, stirring gently, until dough forms. The dough should be sticky and shaggy, but not too wet. Place in a large, oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for 15-24 hours. The dough is ready when the surface is dotted with tiny bubbles. Dump dough onto a nicely floured surface and flip it over onto itself so it's kind of folded up. Let it rest for 15 minutes, then, as quickly as you can, attempt to form it into a ball and let it rest another 2 hours, covered with a cotton cloth. (terrycloth will stick.)
After an hour and a half of rest, pre-heat your oven to 450ºf with the covered dish inside, and let it go for about half an hour. By then, your dough should be ready (you can test it by poking a floured finger into it- it will leave a dent that takes a moment to spring back. the dough doesn't rise much, so don't freak out if it's still the same size when you go to bake it). Remove the dish from the oven, sprinkle the bottom with a little cornmeal, and then do your best to flop the dough into the pan without burning yourself. (Good luck, I almost always burn myself when I bake bread. What is wrong with me?!) Put the lid back on, put it in the oven, and bake for 20 minutes with the lid on, and then another 20 with the lid off.

I've done all kinds of experimenting with this recipe and it really appeals to my type of cooking- it's an adaptable recipe that you can sort of play with and it's hard to screw it up too bad. It requires a great deal of patience but not much skill, and the payoff is a gorgeous loaf of bread. My favorite part is listening to the bread crackle as it cools on my cutting board. And the smell, duh.

26 comments:

Anna said...

You know, this baking in a pot thing works awesome with the bread dough from the "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" book.

Then you have bread dough on tap in the fridge for a week at a time. And it still crackles...

Eliana said...

This look lovely. Homemade bread rocks!

Lauren said...

I'm going to try this tomorrow and I always burn myself when using the oven. My knuckles are cringing but my taste buds are excited!

Alicia Lynn Carrier said...

anna, yeah- from what i understand the 'artisan bread in five minutes a day' is exactly the same concept as the no-knead bread, it's just kept in the refrigerator so it doesn't over-ferment.

Katy said...

No-knead dough is indeed a wonderful idea...but I have always loved to knead bread dough! There is something quite satisfying about how hands-on and hands-in the process is. Not the most quick or convenient, though, of course!!

Treehouse Chef said...

No Knead rocks!

Richard said...

This looks so good, perfect for with the quiches.
I made a version of your mini quiches and posted them on my blog. Thanks! They turned out really tasty!
Richard

leedav said...

I like kneading too but what people fail to realize when they write off this recipe for that reason is that this is the best bread you are EVER going to create in a home oven. I am so thankful to Jim Lahey for developing this recipe and sharing it with us. I just finished my latest loaf that had added dried cranberries and black currants. Yum!

Rebekka said...

Man, I love it so much too. Thanks for the reminder.

Carmel said...

I LOVE that recipe! The Test Kitchen has a variation, but I really like the simplicity of the NY Times one.

Emily said...

Oh my. Oh my God. I LOVE this recipe. We've been rockin' this recipe since the day it was printed. You should try adding fresh parmesan and black pepper to it as well. It's perfect loaf to snazz up any dinner party, trust me.

Anyway, I love the site!

Localette said...

We just baked our bread this afternoon and it turned out awesome! Thank you SO much for passing along the recipe! I hate kneading bread more than anything and this made the process actually fun :D

Jabba said...

I'm still making your crusty bread from October. I make it once a week! I'm finding I can even substitute whole wheat flour and it turns out just lovely.

I actually enjoy the kneading...I put my ipod on and listen to my latest tunes while I prepare the dough.

prosttothehost said...

My dough was ready last night. It say for about 2 minutes on the cutting board before my husband and I ate over half of it in one sitting. Delicious! Thanks for the easy recipe.

ritzcrackerman said...

As for covered dutch oven to use for this receipe - Lodge makes a very good-quality enameled dutch oven (I believe it's a 4.5 quart size or so) that I use on this same recipe (I love this no-knead). The handle to the lid is plastic, so you need to remove it for anything over 400 degrees (you can just jam a piece of foil into it).

It's just as good as a Le Cresuet, at a third the price. I bought mine at Fred Meyer's for $40 on-sale. I believe it comes in a blue, red, or brown. It works fantastically for this recipe.

Laura [What I Like] said...

No-knead bread is the best! There is no reason it can't be this easy all the time. I highly recommend Dan Lepard's book A Handmade Loaf. It is full of no-knead recipes for every type of bread you can think of.

alicia said...

Hello,
I have a smaller le crueset, and thought i would try to make a half recipe of this. How long do you think i should bake it for?

Magnus said...

What sort of yeast does everyone use for this recipe? I've been seeing conflicting information around the web about whether or not there is a significant difference between instant and rapid rise yeasts. I'm anxious to try this recipe, but want to make sure I don't foil the whole thing by getting the wrong kind of yeast!

ilovecarbs said...

Hey there! I just finished prepping the dough. It's resting on the counter as I type. Tomorrow when I get ready to bake it, do I really need to cover it with a cotton towel, or can I just use another bowl to cover it? Also, have you ever added anything else to this recipe to flavor your bread? I hope mine turns out okay. This will be my first time making my own bread! ^_____^

Love your blog girl. Thanks for the recipe!

Chris said...

Magnus, I do this with instant yeast--1/4 tsp if I'm doing it with unbleached white flour or 1/2 tsp if I'm using whole wheat flour.

I used to use our cast iron Dutch oven, but got tired of carrying it upstairs from the basement (we don't have any place to store it in the kitchen) and tried making it with my Corning ware round casserole dish (like a 3.5 quart size) with the glass top. Works great.

While I bake regular "yes-knead" bread every week, I like to make this bread for cooking classes--to show students how easy it is to make and also 'cuz it's one less thing that I have to devote my attention to when I'm preparing for classes. Love it!

inthekitchenwithz said...

I made this bread this afternoon - yum! I can't even wait for it to cool. I've already slathered some with apple butter.

Cooking in Ottawa said...

Fantastic stuff. After the first 20 minutes I took the top off my dutch oven and brushed the bread with extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of rock salt and pepper.

H said...

Alicia - thank you!!! You have changed my life with this post and recipe, you really have! I read this last week and have already whipped up 2 perfectly gorgeous, totally tasty breads! I had to pop a post up on my blog giving you the credit, hope you don't mind?!

Erica said...

If you like no-knead breads, you should take a look at Nancy Baggett's kneadlessly simple bread book. It's loaded with all sorts of no-knead recipes. She even has a website that has a recipe archives to try out some of her recipes. www.kitchenlane.com Happy Baking!

eyeshoot said...

Your bread looks great! Do you know if the no knead technique works with sourdough?

Judith said...

I just made this for the first time and burned my knuckles badly. And then burned my fingers as I decided I didn't want to wait for it to cool to eat. Which then burned my tongue.
It was great though