Thursday, April 2, 2009
No Knead Success
A few weeks ago I tried unsuccessfully to bake the no knead bread made famous by New York Times. It was embarrassing. No, it was more than embarrassing. As far as I know, I am the only person in history to bungle up this super easy idiot-proof bread pioneered by Jim Lahey.
Never the one to give up, I changed tacks and put my faith behind the other no knead bread revolution taking over the food blogging world. I refer to Artisan Bread in five minutes a day, the book published by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. The concept is simple enough - you don't knead the bread, but let the slow rise in the fridge do the job of gluten development.
Here's the recipe, if you can call it one. Mix flour, yeast, salt and water to make a wet dough. Let rise for 2 hours until doubled. Then leave in the fridge overnight. Next morning, dust with flour and shape into a loaf. Let it rest for 40 minutes, then bake in a 220C oven for almost 30 minutes until the bread is golden. There are detailed instructions for steam trays and baking stones and whatnot, but none of these would fit in my tiny oven. I omitted all of that, and I even forgot to slash the tops before baking, but I still got a beautiful crust and an even texture.
The authors don't give the exact quantities on their website, so I wouldn't either. But the idea is that you make enough dough for a week and grab just enough to bake a loaf every time you feel like it. Because of my earlier failure, I divided everything by 4 and only made enough dough for one loaf. And it's so good I am already starting my next batch.