So, yesterday I was blog surfing and came upon a post about a no knead bread recipe that had been in the New York Times in November. Apparently this recipe has swept the blogging world (at least among the bakers!). I thought I'd give it a go and the recipe was still available. Here's a photo essay on the results.
This is a very sloppy dough, but sooooo easy to make. Take two minutes and mix the ingredients (3 cups of flour, 1/4 teaspoon yeast, 1 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 5/8 cups water). That's the official recipe. I had read about the results of other bakers and decided to up the salt to 1 1/2 teaspoon. Also, it calls for instant yeast which is the rapid rise stuff. I only have the regular active dry yeast so I used it in the called for quantity and it came out fine. I made a few changes which you'll see if you compare my method to the one called for. It's delicious and very forgiving. You'll find all sorts of posts about the changes people have made and everyone loves it.
Leave the mixture in the mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap for about 18 hours at room temperature (about 70 degrees). This is how it looked this morning after about 19 hours.
Dump it out onto a well floured counter and fold it over with a bench scraper a couple of times to mound it up. Cover with the plastic wrap and let it rest 15 minutes. This is how it looked before I folded it.
After the dough rests, form it into a ball and place on a well floured towel (mine also has some cornmeal sprinkled on it). The dough is incredibly soft and sticky, so keep using your bench scraper for this and just put it on as best you can. Be gentle with the dough so you don't lose all those lovely air bubbles.
Let it rise for 2 hours covered in the tea towel, but after the first hour and a half, set the oven to 450 and put in a baking stone to heat up. The official recipe calls for using a dutch oven and cooking it covered for the first 30 minutes, then taking the cover off. I had no problems with doing it uncovered on the baking stone. Preheat the oven and stone for 30 minutes after which time the dough should be ready to bake. Mine could probably have risen a while longer, but I had an appointment to keep and needed to bake it then. I baked this one about 40 minutes. Here it is at the beginning.
Finished loaf, left to cool while running out the door.
Taste test time. Everyone loved it! It's really the closest I've ever come to making an artisanal bread. Next time I will try some whole wheat and I hope to eventually try some flavors like onion, cheese and herb.
I would also forgo the floured towel and just let it rise on a floured pizza peel. I ended up using the peel to transfer it to the hot stone anyway, because, despite all the flour I put on the towel, it still stuck. Some have used a silicone mat, others have used parchment. I'll try some other ways in the next few bakings to see what works best for me.
Now, that's GOOD EATS!*
* Chloe and I love Alton Brown's show, Good Eats. I would love to see what he'd have to say about this recipe!