For those who live in the US, no knead bread is probably nothing new but for those who live in Europe, a lot of people are still not familiar yet. When I bumped into this article in New York Times, I was really amazed by it, is it really possible to make an artisan style of bread without kneading? I was curious and gave it a try and it really worked. I still remembered when my first loaf came out of the oven, it was almost midnight, Peter was as excited as me, we could not wait until the bread was completely cooled down and had to cut a piece and try.
I do find this method is really revolutionary, I am curious how the French bakers feel about this method. Personally, I think this is like a sourdough bread and to most people it is difficult to keep a sourdough at home, therefore this is definitely a good solution. And for those who are used to working bread doughs in the conventional way, i.e. kneading, it is really not so easy of touching the dough so little. I will use this as an alternative of bread making. I still like kneading from time to time, good exercise.
Although this is nothing new in the blogosphere, the reason why I still want to write about this is because this post is specially dedicated to my mother in-law so she can find everything in this post. She was also amazed with the results, and would love to try it herself when they go back to Holland. My father in-law used to be a baker, so you can imagine the challenge for me to bake a bread that is qualified to be a good one in their opinion. The Dutch eats bread twice daily, so great opportunity to allow me baking one no knead bread almost every other day to let me get the best hang of this technique.
Recipe adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
- 3 cups (330g) of white flour (you can mix 2 cups of white flour with other types of flour for variation)
- 1/4 tsp of yeast
- 1 tsp of sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups (360ml) of water
- cornmeal or wheat bran or extra flour for dusting
- Mixing: In a large bowl, mix the flour, yeast and salt together. Add the water and stir with your hand or a wooden spatula until blended. You should get a shaggy sticky dough (Fig.1). Cover the dough with cling film (and a plastic bag to create a warmer environment). Leave this for 12 -18 hours at room temperature.
- Rising: After 12-18 hours, you will see the dough is risen and full of bubble dots on the surface (Fig. 2).
- Folding: Flour your hands. Transfer the bubbled and stranded dough (Fig. 3) with a plastic dough cutter or your hand to a lightly floured work surface, sprinkle some flour on the dough, pad the dough gently with your hands to make the dough flatter and wider. This will make it easier to fold the dough. Fold the dough on both sides horizontally (Fig. 4) and then fold again vertically (Fig. 5) on the other sides. Sprinkle some flour each time when you fold.
- Shaping: Quickly shape the dough into a ball using your hands (Fig. 6). Sprinkle generously a cotton kitchen towel with either flour, wheat bran or cornmeal, place the dough with the seam side down on the towel. Sprinkle more flour or wheat bran or cornmeal on the top of the dough before fold the towel to cover the dough.
- Proofing: Let the dough to proof a second time for 1-3 hours, the dough should be doubled in size by this time. (optional, you can proof the dough in a wicker basket if you have one at home)
- Preheating: Preheat the oven at 230ºC at least 30 minutes before the dough is proofed. Place a cast iron pot (or enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) with the lid in the oven at the same time.
- Flipping: When the dough is ready, remove the pot from the oven carefully. Place your hand under the towel and flip the dough over into the pot. In this way, you should get the seam side up. The dough may look a bit messy but don’t worry. Shake the pot a few times to help to make the dough more evenly distributed
- Baking: Cover the lid, return the pot into the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Then remove the lid and bake for another 15-30 minutes until you get a nicely brown loaf .
- Cooling: Transfer the loaf to a cooling rack. You will still hear the bread cracks because of the air holes inside.
- Cut & Enjoy: Cut a slice and enjoy! I love seeing the cracks and the air holes inside (Fig. 7).
Enjoy the freshly baked No Kneading (NK) bread, really No Kidding!!!
I like mine with butter and Fortum and Mason Strawberry jam.
Here I would like to share some great posts in the blogosphere that are very resourceful:
- Blog post by Jaden from Steamy Kitchen,
- Blog post by Pamela from The Cooking Ninja
- Short video by Eric Rochow