Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Almost No-Knead Bread, Part One

 I do realize that writing a blog post about no-knead bread seems so last year, but I want to post my current recipe now, because I'll be trying out some recipes from Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day in the coming weeks.

A few notes: This technique calls for a dutch oven. Since my Le Creuset model still sports its plastic knob, I use my husband's grandmother's cast-iron chicken frying pan, which also has a lid, instead. I weigh the flour, its faster. If I remember, I use white whole wheat flour for about 4-5 ounces of all purpose. If my husband isn't around to drink the leftover beer, I store it in a mason jar in the fridge for the next batch. Sometimes, I need another tablespoon or so of water to get all of the flour mixed in. Just a bit of kneading is really worth the trouble, try it!

Almost No-Knead Bread
Published in: Cook's Illustrated
Publish Date: 1/2008


    3    cup    unbleached all-purpose flour (15 ounces) -- plus additional for dusting work surface
    ¼    tsp    instant or rapid-rise yeast
    1 ½    tsp    table salt
    ¾    cup    plus 2 tablespoons water (7 ounces) -- at room temperature
    ¼    cup    plus 2 tablespoons mild-flavored lager (3 ounces)
    1    tbsp    white vinegar


      1. Whisk flour, yeast, and salt in large bowl. Add water, beer, and vinegar. Using rubber spatula, fold mixture, scraping up dry flour from bottom of bowl until shaggy ball forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 18 hours.

      2. Lay 12- by 18-inch sheet of parchment paper inside 10-inch skillet and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead 10 to 15 times. Shape dough into ball by pulling edges into middle. Transfer dough, seam-side down, to parchment-lined skillet and spray surface of dough with nonstick cooking spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until dough has doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with finger, about 2 hours.

      3. About 30 minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place 6- to 8-quart heavy-bottomed Dutch oven (with lid) on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Lightly flour top of dough and, using razor blade or sharp knife, make one 6-inch-long, 1/2-inch-deep slit along top of dough. Carefully remove pot from oven and remove lid. Pick up dough by lifting parchment overhang and lower into pot (let any excess parchment hang over pot edge). Cover pot and place in oven. Reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue to bake until loaf is deep brown and instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 210 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Carefully remove bread from pot; transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.

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