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!