June 10, 2011

You-Need NO-KNEAD Bread

Who doesn't love the taste of home-baked bread?  Even better, how about a homemade bread that tastes like it came from the experienced hands of an artisan boulanger, yet takes mere minutes and only four simple ingredients to get started?  This is the beauty of the No-Knead Bread recipe from Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery, that was published in the NY Times.  No special culinary skills are required.  If you can measure, stir, and preheat an oven, you've got what it takes to bake a beautiful loaf of glorious, golden bread.

I was introduced to this recipe several weeks ago by my friend Kelly, and my family meals on Fridays (and a few other days in-between) have not been the same since.  My family is crazy for this bread that I've come to call my "9-5 Bread".  What I've done is timed the recipe so that I stir the ingredients together around 9:00 p.m. before I head off to retire for the evening, cover the bowl, and leave it till the next day.  The dough gets popped in to the oven around 5:00 and is ready for supper at 6:00.  Fresh, crusty, French-style bread with minimal effort and on demand.  I love it!

You will find the original New York times article, 
"The Secret of Great Bread:  Let Time Do the Work", HERE.
And the original recipe HERE.

Below I've included my schedule and instructions for having a loaf ready to serve at dinner or to bring to a friend's house by 6:00 p.m.

No-Knead Bread
(based on Jim Lahey's Sullivan Street Bakery recipe)

3 cups all-purposed flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 5/8 cups room temperature water

1/4 cup cornmeal for dusting 

Stir ingredients together the night before.

9:00 p.m. (or before you go to bed):  In a large bowl, stir together the flour, yeast, salt and water till blended. Dough will be shaggy and sticky.  Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and then with a kitchen towel.  Let rest at room temperature until the next day (12-18 hours later).  Do not let the dough continue to rise beyond the 18 hours or it will begin to over-proof and the resulting bread will be rather flat.

18 hours later it looks like this.
3:00 p.m.  Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it.  Sprinkle with a little bit of flour and fold it over on itself once or twice.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and rest for 15 minutes.

3:15 p.m.  Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking, quickly and gently shape the dough into a ball.  Place the dough, seam side down, on a cotton towel (not terry cloth) that has been dusted with cornmeal.  Sprinkle cornmeal on top of the dough as well.  Cover with a second towel and let rise for 2 hours.

After the final rise, the dough will look like this.
4:45 p.m.  Place a 6-8 quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, pyrex or ceramic -- I use All-clad). on middle rack of oven and preheat to 450 F with the lid on.

5:15 p.m.  Remove top towel from dough.  Open oven and remove lid from the pot -- be sure to use an oven mitt.  Slide hand under the bottom towel and turn the dough over into the preheated pot, seam side up.  Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed.  Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes.

5:45 p.m.  Remove lid from pot and continue to cook bread for another 15 minutes.

6:00 p.m.  Bread is done.  Remove from oven, let cool for 15 minutes, then serve, slice and enjoy!


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  1. Oo, that looks delicious. I've always wanted to make it, but I don't have a heavy lidded pot that can go in the oven. I couldn't justify buying a big pot like that just to make bread. LOL.

  2. Yum! That bread looks delicious!!!

  3. I absolutely love the smell and taste of fresh homemade bread. This recipe looks easy enough to accomplish that.

  4. Thanks for stopping by and following my blog! The Mario Cake was a fun one to make!

  5. I've baked this bread too and was so amazed by how good it was. Your loaf looks so tasty. Eat a piece for me.

  6. I love love LOVE that you gave us a time schedule to follow! Thank you and I am definitely going to try this!

  7. i've heard so much about the no knead bread, but i have been a skeptic...but no more! it looks amazing and i love the great big air pockets..reminds me of the tuscan salt-less bread. can't wait to try this. thank you for sharing with tuesday night supper club.


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