Thursday, October 11, 2012

No-knead bread

I've been thinking about making fresh bread every week for our house, but I kept putting it off because I don't have bread flour or all-purpose flour around. I also don't really like to spend hours kneading bread on weekdays given that we're so tired when we come home from work. Then I found this "amazing no-knead bread" recipe, and couldn't wait to try it! I also picked up an adorable Dutch oven with its own trivet at a garage sale this summer, so I was ready to go. The recipe didn't specify what to do if you were using active dry instead of instant yeast, so I decided to proof it just in case. I prepped the dry ingredients (half the recipe - 3 cups) and used 100% whole wheat flour, with 1 tbsp vital wheat gluten for each cup of flour.

Then I mixed them together and found I had to add ~1/2 cup more water (see below for how dry it was before I added more water). The recipe instructed me to let the bread rise in the bowl it was mixed in covered with plastic wrap.... gah! I don't have plastic wrap! It was also 5pm and I was hungry, so I didn't want to go buy plastic wrap just for this. Then I had a brilliant idea: cut open a plastic bag and use a big rubber band!!!!!! I was so excited about this bit of ingenuity.


Then I covered the bread in corn meal (thank you self for buying that from Whole Foods on a whim) and let it rise in a clean kitchen towel. After the allotted rising time, I preheated the oven and plopped that big ball of bread in the hot dutch oven. I cooked it for 5 minutes more than 1/2 (since I was using half the recipe) and checked to make sure the bread was at 200 degrees C. The crust is so brown and crunchy - thank you Maillard reaction!

Here's the finished product - it was a little dense for my taste, and the corn meal chunks were too hard for my teeth, so next time I think I'll use flour instead. But delicious, easy, 15 minutes total bread - and I didn't have to knead!


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