Monday, March 10, 2008
Oh My Gawd . . .
Cruising through the internet I came across a recipe for No Knead Bread. Now I used to bake bread all the time, but haven't even tried it since we've been in the rig. I know several folks who travel with bread machines and get excellent results, but I never could seem to get the loaf I really wanted with a machine.
So we've been on store bought for quite a while, but that just might change.
Suffice it to say that we had bread for dinner.
So here's the basics.
6 1/2 cups of flour
1 1/2 Tblsp quick yeast
1 1/2 Tblsp salt (I like kosher)
3 cups of lukewarm water
Never being happy to leave well enough alone, I substituted about 1/2 cup of beer and a bit of white vinegar for some of the water, but that's a personal decision you'll have to make. Feel free to try the original recipe.
Basically you just mix everything together till you have a big sticky goopy ball. This should only take a minute or two, no need to over mix. Then cover it loosely (a clean towel or some loose plastic wrap (not air tight) will do). Then you just let it sit for anywhere from two to five hours.
Being my usual patient self, I barely made two hours, but the good news is that this makes such a lot that I put half of it in the fridge for tomorrow. The various recipes swear this is all right, so I'll let you know.
If you've ever made bread, you'll see that this is a LOT of water, and I believe this is part of the secret to this method. The other difference is in the cooking.
The original recipe calls for this.
About thirty minutes before you're ready to bake, heat the oven to 450 degrees. You'll need a heavy covered pot, cast iron is recommended, and you'll want to heat this along with your oven.
I had to improvise here because I certainly don't have any cast iron in the motor home. With a little research, I learned that the original method calls for a heated, covered cast iron pot so you can trap the moisture and give the bread a wonderful crust like you find at your favorite bakery.
Since I had no cast iron, I put my air bake cookie sheet in the oven and let it get nice and hot. Then I took a silicone muffin tin and filled the 6 cups with water and carefully slid it in the oven under the burner. Remember I'm making allowances for a smaller oven here. This was to provide a nice steamy atmosphere for my bread
After the dough had risen and my oven was heated, I lightly shaped the dough into a loaf, and because I wanted it to look nice, I made a few slashes in the top. Then into the hot oven it went for thirty minutes.
Boy Howdy, was this bread wonderful! The crust was nice and crusty, almost hard to the knife, but when you cut into it, the inside was steamy and light, lots of nice yeasty holes surrounded by this amazing crust.
I just had to share this with all of you, and if you try it, I'd sure like to hear the results. If you Google No Knead Bread, you'll get a lot of hits, but the one I've provided here is a simple start. Next time, I might try a few additions, but at least I have the basics down
Next time I see some of you at a potluck, I just might bring fresh bread.
Life is good.