Friday, August 23, 2013

Easy Peasy No Knead Bread

Sometimes it's the simplest of things that work like magic in a kitchen.  Take for example this no knead bread recipe. It was featured in the NY Times, based on the Sullivan Street Bakery recipe in 2006.  This is my version of that recipe.

3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp of yeast
1 & 3/4 tsp of fine sea salt
1 & 1/2 cups of room temperature water
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg (if you don't like nutmeg, you could swap it for cinnamon or skip it altogether. It just adds the lightest touch of flavor)
Splash of olive oil (optional)

1) Mix dry ingredients together- flour, sea salt, nutmeg

More details and photos after the cut...

2) Get yeast ready- mix it with 1/4 cup of lukewarm water, and let it sit until it gets bubbly and the yeast has disappeared into the water. Then, add the yeast mixture to your water, and pour it into the dry ingredients. 

3) Lightly mix everything until it forms a dough.

4) Wrap it in plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm room for as close as you can get to 12 hours.  If you'd like, you can put a little bit of olive oil around the bowl to prevent it from sticking to the sides. 

5) When you are ready to get it into the oven, pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees.  Put your pot in there to get it hot.  I am very lucky to have a large cast iron pot that belonged to my grandmother- it's perfect for making a round loaf.  You'll need something that has a lid.  

While the oven is getting hot, get the dough out of the bowl and put onto a floured surface. You should see lots of air pockets when it starts to slide out of the bowl. Gently form a ball with it. Don't knead it or beat it up- be gentle.  

Once you have a ball formed, then let it sit for about 15 minutes.  At the end of the 15 minutes, take the hot pot out of the oven.  Transfer your dough ball onto a sheet of parchment paper and drop the parchment into the pot.  Be careful so you don't burn yourself. 

Then, the magic happens. Let it bake, with the lid on the pot, for 30 minutes.  Following that, you take the lid off and let it bake for another 15 minutes.  At the end of 15 minutes, take it out of the oven and let it cool. It's important to be patient again and let it cool before tearing into it. If you cut it right away, the steam will escape and the bread will get dry.  

Some people like to put a couple of slits into the top of the dough before placing it in the oven- it helps steam leave the bread. I like a crusty exterior so I leave it as is.  I've also seen those who like to spread butter on the exterior of the bread when it comes out of the oven. Again, I like to leave it as-is. 

Besides requiring patience to let it rise, this recipe is super simple and easy to do.  Enjoy!

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