Tuesday, November 8, 2011

No-Knead Bread

I have tried making bread in the past, but they had all turned out to be horrid failures. My first loaf was rye--perhaps that had something to do with my lack of confidence in my bread-baking abilities?

I have been waiting to try Macheesmo's no-knead bread (on the assumption that it's as fool-proof as one can really get in the bread-making world) for a while, and with my friend's Le Creuset, I now have that opportunity!


Ingredients
  • 4 cup flour
  • 1/3 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 2/3 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 1/6 cup water

Now here are the comments about the ingredients: I used half all-purpose flour and half bread flour. You could probably use all bread flour, all all-purpose flour, mix in some whole wheat flour, or use whatever combination you'd like--the flour combinations themselves could offer dozens of different-tasting breads from this one recipe!

Another comment is about the water--although 2 and 1/6 cups of water seem like a lot, I had to add a couple more splashes into my dough for it to fully glop together before I let it rise. I didn't measure, I just used my hand as a scoop from the faucet. The different flour combinations will require different amounts of water, so just add your first 2 cups or so and then go slowly from there.

After letting the dough rise for 18 hours in a large bowl covered with a towel, I slopped it on my bamboo cutting board coated with flour. I tried to kind of guide it into a ball as the recipe says, but that didn't really work for me (maybe that extra water coming to haunt me?), so I just kind of globular-shaped it and dropped it onto a towel that had been floured to prevent the dough from sticking to it and folded the edges over. I let it rise another two hours before baking it.

To bake, preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit with the bottom of the Le Creuset (6 to 8 quart) in the oven for 30 minutes (stick it in when there's 30 minutes left of the dough's second rising) to get it nice and inferno-hot. Pull it out carefully and dump the dough in. Be careful to flour the bottom of the pot, or at least well-flour the dough--if you don't, the bread will not easily come out of the pot when it's done baking! Also, if you don't have any seams in the top of the dough, do a little cross-cut to allow air and steam to escape during baking.

Bake the beast with the lid on at 500 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, the recipe says--I did about 25 before I smelled the bottom burning (remember, it was stuck without flour). Then, remove the lid (and be careful of any escaping steam) and bake another 15 minutes to finish off the inside and get a nice crust on the loaf.

Pull it out of the oven and try to get the bread out of the pot without burning yourself (I scored only a small spot on my thumb from trying to hold the pot's handle, but then, my bread had stuck).

This bread tastes amazing. I'm looking forward to trying it again, with extra flour in the bottom of the pot!

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