Tuesday, 4 March 2014

No-Knead Bread

I've seen this no-knead bread knocking around in the blogosphere for a while now, but for some ridiculous reason, only tried it last weekend. I have made it almost every day since. Oh my goodness, this bread is amazing! It is so easy, a preschooler can do it. It takes very little 'hands on' time. 5 minutes prep (including washing up!) then into a warm place for 15-20 hours. Another 5 minutes, then leave for half an hour. Then into the oven, for half an hour. How easy is that? And it's the most delicious bread ever!

A quick google search reveals that this bread originated from the Sullivan Street Bakery in New York, and was subsequently printed in the New York Times. Since then, it has been all over blog land, but I was most recently reminded of it by Lucy at Attic 24. If you fancy a more detailed, picture by picture account, head over there, because she does a great job of explaining it step by step. Check out her blog properly while you are there, because it really is filled with lots of lovely yarny crafty inspiration.

Anyway, back to the bread. Here's what you need (but don't knead. Ha ha. Sorry)

3 cups bread flour

1/2 teaspoon easy bake yeast

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/2 cups tepid tap water

All you do is mix all of the ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. Cover it in clingfilm and put it somewhere warmish. I put mine in the airing cupboard, but a warm kitchen, or by a radiator would be fine. Then leave it, for anywhere between 10 and 20, even 24 hours. Certainly don't clock-watch, this is really easy, no stress bread.

When you're ready for bread, you need to find yourself a casserole type pot, with a tight fitting lid, that is oven proof at high temperatures. I have used a cast iron Le Creuset (I wish) style casserole, and I have also used a ceramic Pyrex with a glass lid. I didn't find any difference, apart from a slightly different shape.

Preheat your oven to 230c, 450f, Gas 8. Yes, hot! Put your pot in there to heat for 30 minutes.

WELL flour your work top. I mean it, loads of flour. This dough is very sticky. Use a spatula or dough scraper to flop the dough out on to the work surface. Then just really gently, with floured, or wet hands, shape the dough in to a rough ball, the size of your pot. Now cover it with cling film (loosely) and leave it for the 30 minutes it takes your oven and pot to heat up.

Once the oven is screaming hot, take your pot out carefully, and line it with a folded strip of baking paper, about 1 1/2 inches thick. This just makes it easier to get the bread of a red hot pot when it's done.

Now put your dough in the pot, put the lid on, and bake for 30 minutes. Take the lid off, and bake for another 5-15 minutes - depending on how brown and crispy you like your bread.

Take the bread out, put it on a cooling rack and try to resist cutting in to it immediately. Go on, I challenge you. I'm not sure I've ever managed it!

Slather with good butter, dip in oil & balsamic, or just rip it off in chunks and devour. If it lasts beyond a day, it makes delicious toast.