Monday, March 15, 2010

B is for Bread


I love making bread.  Watching the dough rise is always satisfying and the smell of fresh baked bread in the oven is the best!  Recently I decided to finally try the No-Knead Bread recipe that was in the New York Times a while back.  I resisted this for a long time because it seemed easier to just knead the dough than have a bowl of dough sitting around for 18 hours - but I finally tried it!  When I pulled it out of the oven and opened the lid I found the cutest little loaf of bread sitting inside!

It turned out great with very little effort!  Perfect recipe when you know you won't have time to spend making a loaf of bread the day of your dinner!

No-Knead Bread
Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery

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.
Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

Rach makes a few loaves of Challah every Friday for Shabbat and it is always my favorite part of the meal!  How cute are these loaves that she made into circles!

Do you have a favorite bread recipe?


  1. you said easy, but the recipe didn't sound so. methinks you are a pro

  2. Seriously - you can do it! It is just a matter of mixing a few ingredients and letting it rise for a really long time. I suggest mixing it up before you go to bed and then it will be ready for the next evening!

  3. Looks great! I grew up baking bread with my mother--she uses cotage cheese or mashed potatoes to keep it really moist. I'd have to say that that is my favorite. But I love Julia Child's french bread; its supper simple, just flour, salt, and water.