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Not As Good As Pork Cracklins

misadventures in cooking

Friday, February 16, 2007

NYT No Knead Bread

This bread has been the rage since it appeared in the New York Times food section back in November. The original article is archived, so you'd need a subscription to get to it, but it has been much discussed in food blogs such as Fanatic Cook, who even includes the You Tube video that you should watch.

There are a couple of long discussions on the Fine Cooking Magazine's Cooks Talk message board about variations to the original recipe, adding ingredients, substituting part whole wheat flour, dusting with cornmeal, etc.

The novelty of the recipe isn't so much the "no knead" part. I have other recipes that don't require kneading. In fact I have a whole book, No Need to Knead. Rather, the novelty is pre-heating a dutch oven and cooking the bread in it, creating an oven in a oven.

Having heard so much about it, and loving bread as much as I do, it was only a matter of time before I tried it. The clincher was Rose Levy Beranbaum successfully making baby loaves using a half recipe in a 2 quart cast iron dutch oven. Hey! I happen to have a 2 qt. le Creuset that I got at the Crate & Barrel outlet store while visiting Sheri.

This has to be the easiest bread recipe in the whole world. Honest. I mixed the dough yesterday afternoon, left it upstairs (where it's warmer) for 18 hours, folded it this morning for its 2nd rise, and baked it. Ridiculously easy. Ridiculously delicious.

Baby NYT No Knead Bread

Minimum Rising Time: About 20 hours (based on room temp 80°F.)
Total Baking Time: 1 hour preheat, 40 minutes baking
Oven Temperature: 450°F.
Makes: 6 1/2 inches wide and 3 inches high round loaf

1 ½ cups (8.25 oz) Harvest King flour (or half unbleached all-
purpose/half bread flour)
1/8 tsp. instant yeast
1/2 plus 1/3 teaspoon (5 grams) fine sea salt
3/4 cup plus one tablespoon water, room temperature (70 to 80°F.)

Whisk together the flour and yeast. THEN whisk in the salt. With fingers or a spatula stir in the water just until all the flour is moistened.

Cover tightly and set in a 70º/21ºC. room for about 18 hours. It will have risen by more than double and be filled with little bubbles.

Flour a silpat. With an oiled spatula, scrape the dough onto the floured silpat. Use floured fingers and a bench scraper to quickly and loosely fold it in thirds first in one direction, then in the other.

Re-flour the silpat and set the dough seam-side-down. It will be 5”x 2”high. Dust the top of the dough with flour, cover it with a plastic dome or bowl , and let it rise in an 80ºF/26ºC. room for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until it is 7" wide and still 2” high.

While the dough is rising, preheat the oven and 2 qt. cast iron or enameled cast iron dutch oven (with lid) for a minimum of 1 hour at 450ºF.

Remove the pot from the oven. Sift a little flour evenly over the top of the dough and brush off any excess flour from the silpat. Now lift up the silpat and invert it over the hot pot. Unless you used a ton of flour the dough will be sticking slightly to the silpat which is perfect because all you have to do is curve the two edges of it and hold them together with one hand and gently push the dough away from it with the other.

Cover with the lid and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for another 20 minutes or until the top is the color you want it to be, rotating it if it is browning unevenly.

Empty the loaf onto a rack to cool completely. It will be 6 1/2 inches wide and 3 inches high.


At 2/16/2007 9:03 PM, Blogger Sheri said...

The holes in your bread are perfect! I've been wanting to make this bread for a while now.

At 3/17/2007 11:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so pleased to see your article on this. I also found that Mark Bittman video, which I enjoyed. I had just made my first loaf of ciabatta bread using the "no knead" technique from the No Need To Knead book, which I also beleive I first learned about from you!

Your bread looks great. Thanks for the post.


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