Feb 19, 2010

No-Knead To Wait, Here's More Bread

We haven't bought store bread for over a year. It all started with the delicious sandwich bread I made for several months. Since the No-Knead Holiday Pumpkin Bread it's been no-knead all the way. Find out all about the folks who re-popularized this ancient method at Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day.

Here is the basic master recipe for a batch of dough which makes four 1-pound loaves, give or take. Some times I like a bigger loaf and only make three loaves from one batch.

3 cups lukewarm water
1 1⁄2 tbsp granulated yeast (1 1⁄2 packets)
1 1⁄2 tbsp coarse kosher or sea salt
6 1⁄2 cups unsifted, unbleached, all-purpose white flour
Cornmeal for pizza peel

I like to mix up the flours. At the very least I use bread flour and whole wheat flour. Lately I've been using a cup of rye flour too. So my mix lately is

3 cups lukewarm water
1 1⁄2 tbsp granulated yeast (1 1⁄2 packets)
1 1⁄2 tbsp coarse kosher or sea salt
1 cup rye flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
3 1/2 cups bread flour

For this particular batch I got a wild hair and roasted and skinned some hazelnuts. I ground them in the food processor and added about 3/4 of a cup to the batch.

Add yeast and salt to the water to dissolve. Mix in remaining dry ingredients using a wooden spoon a rubber spatula. It's going to be wet and sticky but that's perfect.Cover; let rest until dough rises and collapses back on itself, about 2 hours. The dough can be used at this point, but will be pretty hard to handle. This dough mixture can be stored for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

When you are ready to make some bread, dust the top of the dough mix with a little flour to help the knife avoid sticking. Flour your hands too. Grab a grapefruit-sized blob of dough and cut from the mix with a serrated knife.

Quickly shape the blob into a loaf by stretching the surface of dough around the bottom on all four sides. Dust with more flour if needed. Let the dough rest on the peel dusted with cornmeal for 40 minutes. You can cover with a dry, floured towel if you like.

Twenty minutes before baking, preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place an empty shallow pan on the floor of the oven. Even a bread loaf pan will work but you might not get all three racks back in the oven. I only bake one loaf at a time so I use the loaf pan and bake the bread on the rack in the middle.

This is also when you score the bread with a razor or very sharp knife. Score, gently, slash marks or a cross (keep the cross small because they really expand), etc.

To bake - pour 1 cup hot water into the shallow pan to create a burst of steam. please be careful! Then right away slide the dough off the peel onto the baking stone. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown and firm. You might have to turn the loaf half way. I always have to do this because our oven is hotter in the back. Now the hardest part - COOL COMPLETELY BEFORE SLICING.

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