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Late to the party

November 3, 2010

How is it that a recipe for bread that doesn’t require any kneading took almost 4 years to find its way into my kitchen?  This recipe has been posted all over the internet, (here and there and everywhere) but I just recently found it here.  Really, really good is about all I can say.  My little family of 3 ate the whole loaf with one dinner.  Every silver lining comes with a cloud though, right?  The little cloud hanging over this bread is the 24 hours it takes from pulling out the flour to cutting your first slice.  

2 4    h o u r s ! 

For me that means this is a weekend only recipe because although you don’t knead the dough, there is some work required at about the 18 hour mark.  That translates to about 1:00 p.m. if I’m going to have dinner on the table about 7:00 p.m.  Maybe that’s a good thing for my clothing budget.

Because this bread is baked in a pre-heated covered pot, in a very hot oven, it has a nice chewy crust and a perfectly soft, chewy interior.  The chewy crust comes from all the moisture in the recipe, getting super heated and creating steam during the baking process. 

When you read the recipe you’ll note that it calls for instant or Rapid Rise yeast.  Rapid Rise yeast can be added directly to dry ingredients and doesn’t require any proof time.  Here’s a good comparison chart for Active Dry Yeast vs. Rapid Rise Yeast from Breadworld.com.

No-Knead Bread
Adapted from Deb at SmittenKitchen

Yields one 1 1/2 pound loaf

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
Flour, cornmeal or wheat bran as needed

In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt.  Add 1 5/8 cups water (just under 1 3/4 cups), and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap.  Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

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 rest  about 15 minutes.

Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball.  Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal.  Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours.  When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

At least a half-hour before dough is ready, put a 6 to 8-quart heavy covered pot into the oven and set the temperature to 450F.  The 30 minute time is important so the pot gets hot, hot, hot.  (Note:  If you’re using Le Creuset or Lodge Dutch Oven you’ll need to replace the “phenolic” knob with a stainless steel replacement.  The knob that comes with these dutch ovens is only oven safe to about 375F.)   

When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven.  Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, don’t you worry about it.  Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.  Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned.  Cool fully on a rack. 

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 3, 2011 9:37 am

    I’ve been wanting to try this, but I dont think I have a pot that I can cook this in. Been tempted to get those enamel coated cast iron, but I just doubt I would use it enough to justify the cost. HMMM

    So, don’t worry, Im also late to the party!

    • January 3, 2011 10:03 am

      I didn’t splurge on Le Cruset, I bought a 6 qt Lodge brand pot from Wal-Mart for a fraction of the cost. I think it was about $50 and this pot has become my “go to” pot in the kitchen. I use it for everything from soup to sauces and, of course, bread baking.

  2. January 3, 2011 9:37 am

    I’ve been wanting to try this, but I dont think I have a pot that I can cook this in. Been tempted to get those enamel coated cast iron, but I just doubt I would use it enough to justify the cost. HMMM

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