February 14, 2011

365: Day 25 No Knead, I'll Make the Bread

Monday, February 7th, 2011
At first I felt guilty making bread as my craft for the day and even made a couple of other things. How silly. The No Knead Bread is truly amazing and definitely a crafty experience. Mom thank you soooo much for passing on your cast iron enameled pot to me. I love that pot!!

Google Reader had a post from a NY Time Article about No Knead Bread that was just as good as crusty bakery bread. Having spent way too much money on bread at "Whole Pay Check" for smallish loaves, I thought making my own might be a great idea. You save so much money that you can splurge on organic flours and still have dough left in your wallet and in the pantry.

If you read the article, there is a great write up on the process, but no recipe. I read it again and found a link to the original recipe. If you really want to go to the source you can visit Jim Lahey, Sullivan St. Bakery.

You can't really screw this up. It's even lazy proof. No really. What's really fun are the "improvements" to the original recipe that just encourage laziness for the sake of a better bread. Gotta love that. Google and you will see what I mean.

Slop the 4 ingredients together in a bowl--don't worry too much about exact measurement of ingredients. Cover it with plastic wrap and forget it for 12-18 hours. Next you kind throw some flour on the dough and maybe fold it over on itself twice. Throwing a little flour under the dough to prevent sticking to the bowl makes it easier to plop it into the cast iron pot later. Some folks use spray to prevent sticking, but why bother if you have to play with the flour anyway? Cover the dough back up and let it rise for two hours. Leaving the dough in the bowl rather than moving it to two floured towels is a recent "innovation" -- no towels to clean. See lazy. Love it.

A beautiful view fresh from the oven!
When you feel like it, heat up the cast iron pot in the oven for about 30 minutes.I put mine in there with the lid on it. When that is ready pop off the lid (remember the oven mitts!) and flop your dough in the pot. Put the lid back on for 30 minutes. Take lid off and bake 15-30 more till it's looking pretty. 

Eat once it has cooled--HA right. Resisting is futile. I lasted 10 minutes and had to dig in...ooohhh. Mmmmmm breaaaaad (say it like Homer or a zombie for best effect).

Crusty, crusty, crusty!!  Oh the crust. My daughter and I immediately ate half the loaf. The texture is truly wonderful. Crusty on the outside and soft and tasty on the inside. In fact my daughter's first comment was "Oh Mom that's some tasty bread!"

The creative part? Add-ins and variations on the process and ingredients. I made more this weekend and substituted half the white flour with whole wheat pastry flour. Oh yeah. This week I am going to try adding in some tomato paste to the water before mixing in the flour. Drooling, again.
Mine didn't seem to rise enough, so I did put it into the oven with a pan of boiling water underneath it to encourage a good rise. Next time I will put the bowl on top of the refrigerator where it is warmer. Hows that for lazy innovation?

If by chance there are leftovers, simple place the bread cut side down on the cutting board and just leave it there. No really, it's the best way to keep the bread crusty and the best part---the bread didn't dry out over night or get hard and bonus--saves the environment from plastic wrap. I know, I can barely believe laziness worked, but it did. Give it a go!

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