Bread week, day 5: No need to knead
I stumbled upon a recipe for no-knead bread on The Vegetarian Foodie blog. Not that I was excited to find a no-knead recipe. What are you saying? I love kneading. Are you accusing me of getting burnt out on all this bread baking, proofing and kneading? Nonsense. I was just … ummm … curious.
Anyway, I was slightly skeptical. Why would anyone ever knead dough if they could skip this step and still get a great bread (besides those of us who are brimming with passion for perfecting the art and science of kneading, of course)?
Well, my friends, I was utterly amazed at the ease of this recipe and the quality of end result. I’ll go ahead and say that this is the best bread of bread week so far. The steam trick yields a thick, crisp crust while the insides are moist, chewy and delicious.
You will not believe that the crusty, beautiful creation that emerges from your oven consists of only four ingredients and requires hardly any work at all.
Basic No-Knead Bread
Adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
1 1/2 cups warm water (no warmer than 100 degrees)
3 1/4 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons active yeast
2 teaspoons salt
Mix all the ingredients together until they are well incorporated. Cover the bowl with a warm, damp towel and let rise in a warm place for two to five hours. Replace the damp towel with cling wrap and refrigerate overnight.
The next morning, take the bowl out, flour the surface of the dough and form the dough into two equally sized balls. Let the dough rise for an hour in a warm place, covered by a warm, damp towel.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 500 degrees with a pizza stone and a broiler tray in the oven.
Before putting the loaves in the oven, flour and cut two slits on the top of each loaf. Carefully slide the loaves (still on the parchment paper) onto the pizza stone. Then take a large cup of hot water and pour the water into the broiler tray. This causes steam in the oven and creates a hard, thick, exterior crust.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, turning the oven down to 475 degrees about 10 minutes into baking.