Sunday, May 23, 2010

No-Knead Bread

For my first dinner party, I really wanted to create a menu to impress, and so I decided to bake my own bread from scratch rather than buying bread from the store. I was quite intimidated however by the idea of kneading and rolling loaves, which I had never done before. Bread-baking is a serious business which can go incredibly wrong if you make even one tiny mistake. Fortunately, I can across this fantastic recipe for no-knead bread at Jaden Hair's www.steamykitchen.com: http://steamykitchen.com/168-no-knead-bread-revisited.html (see also: http://steamykitchen.com/about-2).This bread was as simple to make as it was delectable. Crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, it was just perfect.

Ingredients:
3 cups bread flour
1/4 tsp. instant yeast
1 tsp. table salt(or 3/4 tsp. kosher salt)
1.5 cups lukewarm water(see yeast packet for appropriate temperature range-mine was 120-130F).

Directions:

Place the dry ingredients-the flour, salt and yeast-in a large bowl.

Mix the dry ingredients with the lukewarm water:


Cover the dough and let it sit 12-20 hours on the countertop.
The dough right before the first rise:

The dough after the first rise( I let it sit for 12 hours, next time I will try 24 to better incorporate the soaking method):


Dump the dough on a floured surface after the first rise, and fold the ends of the dough over until it forms a ball. The recipe said to flour a towel, wrap the bread seam-side down in the towel and let it rise for 2 hours. I however, just floured the same bowl and let the dough ball rise in the covered bowl; it worked just fine.
Folding the dough after the frist rise:

The dough after the second rise:

When 30 minutes of the second rise are left, slip a large(at least 5 qt.) covered pot into your oven and preheat the oven to 450F. Let the pot sit in the oven for at least 30 minutes to get warm. Make sure that your pot can withstand a 450F temperature. After the pot is heated, reomve it from the oven, uncover it, and dump the dough ball into the pot. Cover the pot and immediately put it back into the oven. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Then, remove the cover and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until the crust of the bread is golden and the internal temperature of the bread reads 210F. Reomve from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.
And finally, the bread straight out of the oven:

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