Sunday, May 17, 2009

NYT No-Knead White Bread

Bread, oh how do I love thee. While many the low carb phenomenon, I still love you and can call no meal complete without you.

From an early age I was very much aware that bread is the glue of every meal. The vessel to sop up that olive oil from my mom's braised green beans. The perfect scoop to reach every last drop of soup. Even though my various travels have brought me to fine dinning establishments throughout the world, I still contend there is no greater meal then fresh crusty bread, good feta and olives from Messinia.

I hate to stand on a soap box but, Wonderbread and it's evil spawns have single handily smeared (no pun intended) the reputation of bread. While the move toward artisan breads, that blows the wonder stuff out of the water, is a step in the right direction, the cost can be prohibitive. As an avid bread consumer the weekly bill for various loaves range from $15-$20 a week. I have therefore taken steps to have reduce purchases to only 1 loaf per week and supplement with homemade bread.

While both my mom and yiayia made bread at home, I have opted for a more standardized recipe that creates a wonderful, nutritious, cost effective crusty white bread but above all is so incredibly easy.

No-knead bread came in fashion in 2006 when the New York Times profiled this recipe adapted from the Sullivan Street Bakery in New York City. Thankfully since then there have many well written books that cover the subject of easy homemade breads. I look forward to trying many of these recipes!

No Knead White Bread
New York Times, Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising
Yields 1 loaf

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 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.

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.

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 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.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. 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, but that is O.K. 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 on a rack.
Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.


Betty's Cuisine said...

mmm...I can smell it from here!!! Nothing like fresh baked bread...

BMK said...

Looks delicious! I love that its so easy too!

Peter M said...

I use the ABin5 no-knead method but this is similar. Welcome to bread making!

Ellie said...

This looks great! I need to try the no-knead method!

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