Monday, October 18, 2010

No-Knead Bread: An Experiment, Part 2

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Two different bloggers that I subscribe to recently posted two different recipes for No-Knead Bread.  Well, doesn’t that sound great?!?  I’m always in a time crunch and honestly, bread making is kind of a process.  Cut out the kneading part?  Sign me up! I decided to try them both out and review each method. Here’s Part 1.  Now, we’re on to Part 2.
Method 2:
I ran across this recipe posted by Kimba from A Soft Place To Land.  Her method is actually a recipe from the New York Times in 2006.  (Once again…where have I been?  Ugh.)

(UPDATE:  Check out this video to see exactly how this bread is made!)

The NY Times recipe is even simpler than the first recipe I tried, but uses a cast iron Dutch oven instead of a pizza stone.  Kimba suggested this Dutch oven from Amazon, however I bought a slightly larger, yet similar one from CSN.  I had a gift certificate!  Both are awesome deals considering their size.  Basically, you need a 5-8 quart pot with a lid that can handle at least a 450 degree oven.  No plastic people!
Dutch Oven No-Knead Bread (New York Times)
  • 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 1/2 cups water, 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.  I put my in the microwave…not on, of course. IMG_4682 
  2. 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.  IMG_4687
  3. 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 piece of wax paper with flour.  Place dough on wax paper, seam side down.  Lightly sprinkle the top surface with more flour.  Cover with a tea 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.
  4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 5- to 8-quart heavy covered pot in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Carefully lift wax paper and turn dough over into pot, seam side up.  This will not look pretty, but no worries.  Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.
  5. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack. IMG_4702  
NOTES and Review:
  • Although this method is SUPER easy, it does take some forethought.  For instance, I you want to have bread for dinner, you have to start it right before bed time the night before.  If you want it for lunch the next day, I started it the day before right after lunch.  SO:  Easy recipe…lots of wait time.
  • This recipe makes one easy to deal with loaf, which is all my family (and my rear) needs!
  • Notice that I used wax paper for the final rise stage.  The actual NY Times method called for using a tea towel .  Many blogs mentioned that this made kind of a mess, so I decided to try the wax paper.  It worked great and was most likely less of a mess.
  • Love my Dutch Oven and can’t wait to use it for other things like soups and braising.  Happy to add it to my kitchen arsenal.
Both methods are great, it just depends on what your needs and time constraints might be.  The loaves were wonderfully crusty and had just enough bite on the inside.  Method 1 would probably work well as both a dinner bread and a sandwich bread.  Method 2 is great with dinner and soup, but works well as a crostini too.  A little too holey for my sandwiches.  
Of the two recipes, I like the Dutch Oven method a little more.  The one loaf thing is a plus to me.  I love eating bread morning, noon and night, but I would also like to fit into my jeans this season. ;) 
If I can figure out how to properly store my refrigerated dough from Method 1, then maybe I’ll like having bread dough on hand all week.   One reader mentioned making dinner rolls from the Method 1 dough as well, instead of one large loaf.  Also, the longer you store this dough, the more it becomes like sourdough.  That would be nice to test out too.
Well, I hope my little dabble in No-Knead methods has inspired you to try out one of these recipes for yourself.  They truly make homemade bread a manageable task! 

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  1. This bread looks really good and a lot easier than kneading.. Next time I have company, I am going to try it.. Any ideas for a gluten free version?? Great pictures

  2. I have had this recipe bookmarked FOREVER! You have convinced me I really need to give it a go. I just moved and left my dutch oven at the other house, ugh.
    That looks like the perfect dip my bread into oil kind of bread, yummy!


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