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Archive for the ‘Bread Recipes’ Category

Best Bread EVER!!! Easy, No Knead Crusty Bread!

Posted by reeeeeen on December 8, 2007

Cliff found this bread recipe  in Mother Earth News and wanted me to try it.  We’re big fans of the artisan style bread.  The kind with the crunchy browned crust and soft light center.  What do you need except that, some butter and maybe some garlic or roasted peppers for a good time?  Not a thing!

 So he asked me to try this recipe.  Now anyone who knows me know that I am NOT a baker.  I’m a home cook.  Need dinner — lead me to the fridge and I can whip up some kick ass chicken or pasta sauce or stew, need vegetarian?  Great! Lead me to the stove. 

But baking..ugh.  The exacting nature just bores and frustrates me.  The waiting for the final result frustrates me.

When I’m making dinner I can taste as I go…needs more salt?  Fix it!  Needs more spice?  Fix it!  With baking you just wait for that first post-baking bite to see if you accidentally confused the sugar and salt containers…

So I was skeptical and fully expected to end up with a large bread looking rock that we could keep by the door for self defense.  Hey nowadays, you can’t have enough heavy baking disasters within arm’s reach of the door, I guess.

Imagine my surprise when (after this super easy, essentially fool proof recipe) we ended up with a loaf of one of the best breads I’ve ever tasted!  I’m actually excited to try it again, adding some roasted garlic or oregano to the mix and see how it comes out.  I don’t have a picture (we tore into it as soon as it was cooled the required hour, and my camera’s flash is broken), but it came out almost exactly like the picture in the article in the link above, except the flour darkened to a beautiful honey brown color. 

Apparently (as I was researching whether 1/2 t yeast was a misprint or not — it’s not, the long rising time and the no knead recipe eliminates the need for the usual 2t or so), it’s become all the rage over the last year or so.   Just google ‘no knead bread’ and you’ll see what we’ve been missing!

 Try this recipe, I’d love to hear what the results were!  2 caveats — make sure to flour the dishtowels generously, many of the comments on the article indicated that it tended to stick.  If I hadn’t read the comments first, I have no doubt I’d have had the same problem.  And second, make sure you have a dutch oven that has an oven proof handle on top that can withstand the high heat.  Mine made it through with just a tiny crack but next time I’ll remove the handle and stick some tin foil in the hole instead or cover the whole thing with tin foil instead.  The pan has to be sealed tight for the humidity to crisp the crust up. 

No Knead, Dutch Oven Bread

1⁄4 tsp active dry yeast
1 1⁄2 cups warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting. You may use white, whole wheat or a combination of the two.
1 1⁄2 tsp salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran for dusting

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add the flour and salt, stirring until blended. The dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest at least 8 hours, preferably 12 to 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
  2. The 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 it rest for about 15 minutes.
  3. Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface or to your fingers, gently shape it into a ball. Generously coat a clean dish towel with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal. Put the seam side of the dough down on the towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another towel and let rise for about 1 to 2 hours. When it’s ready, the dough will have doubled in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
  4. At least 20 minutes before the dough is ready, heat oven to 475 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in the oven as it heats. When the dough is ready, carefully remove the pot from the oven and lift off the lid. Slide your hand under the towel and turn the dough over into the pot, seam side up. The dough will lose its shape a bit in the process, but that’s OK. Give the pan a firm shake or two to help distribute the dough evenly, but don’t worry if it’s not perfect; it will straighten out as it bakes.
  5. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake another 15 to 20 minutes, until the loaf is beautifully browned. Remove the bread from the Dutch oven and let it cool on a rack for at least 1 hour before slicing.

Yield: One 1 1⁄2-pound loaf.
Adapted from The New York Times.



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