Sunday, February 28, 2010

no-knead bread (for Fresh From the Oven)

I'm so proud to be part of a baking group called Fresh from the Oven. It's a group of bakers looking to try new things and each month we choose a bread baking project. This seems to suit me just fine, since I'm a beginner when it comes to bread. For February's challenge we are all making Jim Lahey's No-Knead Bread. Claire from Things We Make chose this great recipe.

I asked for Jim Lahey's book for Christmas (My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method) and I've made the No-Knead Bread several times now. It's been much talked about on the websites and blogs, since it was first written about by Mark Bittman for the New York Times (and the extremely simple recipe is found in the article). Bloggers everywhere have written about it. So I figured it might be time to learn how to make bread and also try the recipe that has been so much talked about. I have tried it as a white rustic loaf, a wholewheat loaf, and a rye loaf (below), which was my favourite.

What makes this bread recipe unique is that there is no kneading, instead the wet dough has a very long (twelve to eighteen hour) first rise. I've made it once with a 24 hour rise (in a cool place) and it was delicious. (It's a very flexible recipe, and forgiving.) Then after a two hour second rise it gets baked inside a covered pot in the oven. This means the bread is steamed in "the oven inside the oven". The resulting loaf is hard crusted but with lots of porous holes inside the fluffy bread.

Making the bread is definitely easier than any I have tried before. And timing it has been relatively easy as well. If I want to use it for a lunch or early afternoon, I mix it the night before and let if rise overnight. If I want to use it in the evening, I mix it at breakfast time (since I get up so early there are more than 12 hours between breakfast and dinner!). One night the bread was just ready at dinner time and we were so tired that we ended up just eating warm bread with oil, vinegar, and cheese as a meal. It was fantastic!


Janice said...

Your meal of bread and cheese looks lovely. It's great to see all these loaves of no knead bread they have come out so well!

Kitchen Butterfly said...

I love no-knead breads and that's certainly one thing I've learnt....and read being in Europe. I got my 'Healthy Artisans Bread in five minute' on Friday and am looking forward to baking from it. I think I'm the only one who hasn't heard, not to talk of read about Jim Lahey's recipe. A must try - as soon as I get a good pot for the oven!

The Cooking Ninja said...

I taught my mom-in-law how to do No Knead Bread :) Now she bakes 3 baguettes from it every day. I don't even measure anymore. Just put flour in, mix with warm water, and that's it. And my MIL does the same thing. Once you know how the wet dough should look, you don't need to make it by measure. :)

Hilary said...

I liked this recipe when I made it. It's not the sort of bread I like to eat every day, though. Too much hard crust for me!

Claire said...

I love warm bread with cheese and balsamic viegar, olive oil etc. Sounds great

Jo (Jo's Kitchen) said...

Your bread looks lovely. Really crusty and yummy.

Choclette said...

This sounds a bit like my rye sourdough - which is also dead easy to make.

things we make said...

Looks like you have really made the most of this one and are enjoying plenty of good bread. Looks lovely and rustic, just how it should be. Thanks for taking part.

The Mrs. said...

Your bread looks wonderful. The meal of bread and cheese with oil and vinegar looks so lovely - one of my favorites things in the world is a warm loaf of bread with some super sharp cheddar and slathering of onion jam! :o)

maria said...

I enjoyed making the fougasse version of this recipe and yes I would make it again. I think your idea of oil and cheese is one I will have a go with.

Andrea said...

I still haven't tried the no kneed recipe! I think it might be kind of hard to keep my dog away from it for that 12 hour first rise, as she's very cleaver when it comes to getting her nose into food. Yours looks wonderful, well done!

Chele said...

Thanks for adding in the history of this recipe - I'm always interested in the origion of recipes ... I guess its the geek in me lol.
Your loaf turned out wonderfully well.

Jennifer said...

This looks delicious! I've been wanting to try the no knead bread!

sarah said...

Janice--Thanks for visiting. It was so encouraging to see that no one really had too many problems with the no-knead bread.

Kitchen Butterfly--I can't wait to read more about Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. It is the next thing I am keen to try. If only my fridge was a bit bigger!

Hilary--I know what you mean about the crust. I liked the bread dipped in something so that the hard crust went to some "use".

Claire--There's just something so wonderful about fresh bread with oil and vinegar. Yum.

Jo--Thanks for visiting and I'm glad I participated in this challenge.

Choclette--I must try the rye sourdough as well. I guess I was always shy because of the waiting period. But no-knead bread also has a long wait!

things we make--This was such a good exercise this month. Yum.

the Mrs.--Oh, onion jam! Now that would be a great addition to my little bread picnic.

maria--I think I would make this again, too.

Andrea--Haha! Your dog sounds like a wanna-be gourmand.

Chele--I love food reading and writing. Thanks for visiting. We are both food geeks. :)

Jennifer--I hope you have a try. It was easy!

Anonymous said...

Can you also make this bread with gluten free flour combinations ?

Sarah said...

Hello Anon, I think it's unlikely to work with gluten-free flour. The long rest gives the gluten in regular flour time to develop, which is what makes the bread hold together. I have not found any online no knead gluten-free bread. Sorry, I think you may be better off starting with a recipe that is specifically designed for gluten-free flour.

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