November 18, 2006

No-Knead Bread

I started this at 6 o'clock yesterday evening. It was taken out of the oven at 4 o'clock this afternoon and I can't believe the results!

I was very skeptical...

This morning I got out of bed and immediately went downstairs to see if it was all bubbly, like it was supposed to be. Unbelievably, it was. So, my skepticism faded a little. But I still didn't think it would come out in the end. Merde, I sound like such a pessimist.

I had a difficult time handling it and used more flour on the work surface and my hands than called for, as it was very sticky and wobbly. I still had it stuck all over my fingers after trying to shape it into a ball. I've read a few more posts about it and others have mentioned that the water could be cut back to 1 1/2 cups. Getting it from the flour coated towel into the cast iron pot was quite a feat. I almost dropped it on the floor and the pot was blisteringly hot so it took some coordination.
I intend to practice quite a bit more with this bread because it is fabulous stuff!

VoilĂ ! Look at that crust! It is beautiful, golden and very, very tasty.

I took the recipe directly from The Wednesday Chef, whom I would like to thank.

No-Knead Bread
Yields one 1 1/2 pound 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.

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Alison said...

That looks SO good! But, pray tell, what is "instant" yeast? Is it dry yeast?

Laurie said...

I've been thinking about trying this recipe since seeing it or something similar in the New York Times. Thanks for sharing your experience with it!

barrie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loulou said...

I used dry yeast and had great results.
let me know how it goes...

angela said...

Is that levure boulangere that comes in sachets? This recipe's making my mouth water. Got to try it.

Mimi said...

Your blog looks wonderful, LouLou.

I hope to bake bread over the TG weekend.

Riana said...

how fun!!!!!!!!!! I made indian bread today... must be a bread kind of day.

Loulou said...

yes, levure boulangere. I measured out 1/4 teaspoon of a sachet and that was enough.

I made another loaf today with 1 1/2 cup water and the dough was easier to deal with.
Let me know how it goes!

paati said...

I keep seeing this no knead bread everywhere that i am now tempted to try it out!:)

Donna said...

Hi lou lou,
I'm making a loaf right now, but was dismayed to find that I have only two and 1/2 cups of all purpose flour. As it is 9:30 pm Thanksgiving Eve (in third-world New Orleans) I am substituting whole what flour for the last cup. I'll let you know....

Donna said...

I meant "wheat"!!!!

Loulou said...

try it out!

looks like your bread turned out just fine. It is really good for breakfast. Like the new blog!

Susan in Italy said...

Loulou, I'm so jealous! I tried making tyhis and I screwed it up. Look at the crumb on that bread! It's gorgeous with all those big holes.

Katie said...

It's another windy, rainy day here in the Vendee - perfect for breadmaking. This looks wonderful! Thanks for sharing the tips...I'll let you know...

David said...

I'm finding that adding 1/4 cup extra (40 gr) French flour, seems to do the trick.

Instant yeast is finely-powdered yeast, so it dissolves faster. You can use regular yeast for the recipe.