Wednesday, February 28, 2007

'No Knead Bread 'recipe by Jim Lahey in the NY Times - apparantly it's all the rage, and it's just reaching me now.

I'll leave a 'bread crumb trail' for how I came about finding the 'No Knead Bread' recipe that apparantly has caught fire and is making the rounds. I'm either oblivious, or it is still new enough that it hasn't reached my attention. But it has my attention now!

Beginning with my bloglines morning reads, from not martha today is a list of fun recipes (I already added the kettle corn and sweet potato fries). I followed the no knead bread recipe to splatgirl creates and it was an interesting read but didn't include the recipe. The link was to the New York Times registration or sign in page. I didn't feel like signing in, so I googled and came up with The Wednesday Chef which does have the now becoming famous Jim Lahey recipe.

Apparantly the secret is one of those known to the older civilizations - use of baking stone. For modern day cooks, with modern day stoves, the baking oven is a different concept. This recipe calls for use of a cast-iron pot with a lid.
Woo Hoo - a reason to go thrift store shopping - actually in this case, I can probably find a good enough price on a new cast iron pot with lid at our one and only department store - The Dennis Company.

The other secret to this recipe is that after you mix it and the mixing takes only a few minutes, it's left to rise for 18 hours, then baked in the 'almost like a cooking stone' concept of cast iron pot with lid.

Something for me to try and surprise my husband, who is the bread maker in our home and is not shy about kneading bread. Oh, and we do have the bread making machine, which I probably ought to make more use of using.
We'll blog about our variation of success in using this recipe.

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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