Friday, January 22, 2010

Smell this?

It always seems to happen in January.  The munchies...

I get hungry.  I get really hungry.  It always happens and I always end up making loads of food.  When I look at receipts for cooking/baking/food items, cookbooks or just googling recipes...this is the yummy month.

I can't seem to stop is how I am made, how I roll, how I knead, how I (okay, I will stop).

I needed (kneaded) bread, know the craving?  Hot, fresh from the oven, buttery delicious bread?  I have made a few loaves of Ciabatta this week (not the greatest) and now I am getting into the No-Knead Bread again.  I love this bread.  It is by far the simplest bread to make, it looks gorgeous, it crackles when you take it out of the oven, and it is heavenly to eat all by itself - or just a bit of soft butter or cheese.  The only real issue is that it just takes mental gymnastics to figure out when to start it?!  You will see...

No Knead Bread 
(yields one 1 1/2 pound loaf)
3 Cups flour, more for dusting
1/4   tsp instant yeast
1 1/4  tsp salt
a bit of cornmeal

1. Combine your flour, yeast and salt with 1 5/8 Cups of water and stir until mixed.  Dough is still sticky (some call it shaggy).  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave on the counter for 12-18 hours.  I start this part of my dough making in the late evening and bake the next afternoon.

2.  The dough gets kind of bubbly on the top, that means it is good to go.  Dust a bit of counter-top with flour, scrape the dough from the bowl and fold it a few times with flour coated hands - remember "no-kneading" (it helps if you take your rings off btw).

3.  Shape the dough into a ball, put the dough ball on top of a floured kitchen towel (not the terry cloth kind).  Cover with another towel and let it sit, rest, rise for about 2 hours.

4.  Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Find a 6 to 8 quart heavy pot you can cover with a lid (cast iron or enamel seem to work best for me). Here's my pot.  I have also baked gorgeous loaves with a metal mixing bowl turned upside down on top of a ceramic lasagna pan...find something you already have around the kitchen.

Turn/flip/plop the dough over into the pot (it doesn't look too pretty - its okay).  Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes, remove the lid and bake another 15 minutes until the bread is a gorgeous golden brown.
** some recipes for this bread have you pre-heat the pot before you put the dough inside, I don't.

5. Take out the loaf and cool on a rack...listen to it crackle. Isn't that something?  

((The only problem I ever have is slightly burning the bottom of the loaf/loaves.  Use a bit of cornmeal on the bottom of the pot before putting in the dough, and check the bread when it gets close to being done, I have taken bread out 5-10 minutes early.)) 

Try this one at home, I know you will love it!

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