No-Knead Bread Recipe
Crusty and chewy....No-knead bread
This one is also fun teaching recipe for kids & beginning cooks of all ages
Finally a recipe for homemade bread that I can't turn into a boat anchor! From the beginning of my cooking career I've had trouble with making a decent loaf of bread. Using a raft of tried and true recipes from classic cook books to family secret recipes, I've discovered one truth...if I handle the dough, it won't be edible. I don't know if it is some sort of chemical reaction, ph balance, or electromagnetism (I can't wear a watch either, the 1 year batteries die within a few weeks), but no matter how gifted a cook I am in other areas, if it involves yeast I will kill it.
So I was reading in a novel about simple old-world bread making, and a light bulb went off. I messed around with yeast and flours until I found the right balance....actually you don't have to worry too much about measures with this bread, as long as the dough is moist and rises well...and I came up with a sure-fire can't screw it up way of putting a hot homemade loaf that my family will eat on the table. And it's free of preservatives, additives, and high fructose corn syrup.
Also my best advice is to use only bowls, utensils & cookware that don't leach chemicals, and can't flake non-stick coatings into your food. I stay with cast iron, (which also adds iron to your diet!), stainless steel, glass and sometimes stoneware.
If you want to double this recipe I recommend rising in two bowls.
1 package yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons...if you're using bulk yeast you can add a pinch or two more...this is a flexible measure, but don't use less than 2 ¼ teaspoons.
1 tablespoon sugar (use a pinch to bloom the yeast, the rest goes in the dry mix. You can use as little as a teaspoon, but I leke the larger amount for flavor))
2 cups lukewarm water (use a meat thermometer to make sure it isn't over 110-115 degrees F...hotter will kill the yeast. They say yeast dies at 140 degrees, I've found 120 degrees will ruin the yeasts bloom)
4 cups all purpose flour (whole grain is fine; or I use a mixture of half white half wheat flour, you can add some whole grains or sunflower seeds, just make sure your mixture ends up moist and sticky)
2 teaspoons salt (you can use less but I think it's tasteless without enough salt)
Adding herbs & garlic, olives or peppers is optional...and to your taste.
Bloom the yeast: In ½ cup of the warm water add a pinch of the sugar and the yeast, mix lightly till just moistened. Allow at least 10 minutes for the yeast to "proof"...it will be foamy. The foamier the better in my opinion.
Healthy kitchen choices
When your yeast is nearly ready, warm a large glass, stainless steel or stoneware bowl. You can use plastic, but I like glass. You can warm it by running under with hot tap water then drying it completely just before you mix the dry ingredients and yeast mixture. It won't stay hot, but I've found that first warmth does give the yeasty dough a nice start in rising. Whatever you do make sure the bowl is no colder than normal room temp.
Combine flour, sugar and salt in the dry warm bowl, add dried or fresh herbs and extras if you like them, and mix.
Add foamy yeast mixture and remaining warm water (check the temp, not too hot or cool.)
Mix well, dough should be soft and sticky. More so than regular bread dough. Add more warm water if necessary, and mix very well without letting it cool too much.
Cover bowl with a clean cotton or linen cloth, not touching the dough. Place in a warm spot with no drafts (I put my dough on top of the fridge where it's warm).
Let is double in bulk; rising about 90 minutes.
Punch once to deflate. Now you can place the in any kind of greased pan, split in two for loaf pans, (they will be a flat sort of artisan bread) or turn all out onto a lightly greased cookie sheet for a round bread.
Let rise until doubled in bulk again, covered with cloth not touching the dough. (the rising dough may touch the cloth eventually, so lift it gently off the dough before cooking! You're ready to bake.
Place pan & dough in a COLD oven and turn on to 400 degrees F. Bake for 25 to 40 minutes, depending on whether you've split the dough. A round loaf will take 33-40 minutes. The crust should be golden brown,
Cool just a bit...10 minutes or so. It goes with any dinner or salad. Great with butter, cream cheese, brie or other spreadable cheeses. It makes a firm base for open face sandwiches. Cut in smaller pieces to top with goodies for appetizers. Also terrific as the bread on top of onion soup, placed under the broiler with cheese melted on top. You can scoop out and fill with dip...like a spinach dip. It makes fabulous chewy healthy toast. And I also use it for croutons (just toss in a combo of olive oil or butter, salt, pepper & herbs in a pan over medium heated burner, till browned and crunchy.) And it is very good as the bread in your poultry stuffing.
Enjoy, and please comment if you have any other improvements or nice add-ons and uses for this simple but yummy bread.
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