3/16/11

No Knead, Dutch Oven Bread


Last week my Father-in-law asked if I would be interested in trying a new bread recipe. He explained that there was no kneading involved and only a few ingredients, but it has to sit for 12-18 hours. He brought over a magazine and showed me the recipe. I was amazed to see that this bread only had 4 ingredients: Yeast, water, flower and salt. So, I told him I'd make it and went home and mixed up the dough.
The next evening we baked the bread. When it was ready to cut everyone had a slice, then another, then another, until there was no more bread.
I have been looking for a nice crusty bread with a chewy center, and I think I've finally found it (Thanks to my FIL). Since our first loaf, I think my FIL and I combined have made close to 12 loaves, if not more.

This is such an easy bread to make, the only thing is waiting 12-18 hours. Once you're out of this bread you wish you had made 2 loaves. :)

On Sunday my hubby and I were looking for a late night treat. I had the idea of sandwiches. So we pulled out our bread and made some sandwiches. Oh My!! They were good! My hubby even said 'These were the best sandwiches I've ever had.' And just an FYI, my husband is not a sandwich guy.

The long, knead free fermentation process allows the dough to develop the good flavor for this yummy bread. And when you cook it you cook it in a dutch oven or a heavy covered pot. By covering the dish it helps creates the humid conditions needed for a crisp crust.
My father-in-law uses his camping Dutch oven for this bread. I use our 'heart shaped' (yes, heart shaped; a wedding gift, we were married Feb. 13th) Le Creuset dutch oven. I'm hoping to buy a normal round dutch oven since I'll be making this bread quite often. But if you don't have a fancy dutch oven, no worries, it says any 6-8 quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) will work.

I promise you this bread will not disappoint. And don't be afraid to give it a try. I am in no way a professional baker, and this bread turns out great for me every time. So give it a try and let me know what you think.

Enjoy!!



No Knead, Dutch Oven Bread
From: Mother Earth News (Dec. 07/Jan. 08); adapted from The New York Times

¼ tsp. active dry yeast

1 ½ C. warm water
3 C. all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting. You may use white, whole wheat or a combination of the two.
1 ½ tsp. Salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran for dusting

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add the flour and salt, stirring until well blended. The dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest at least 8 hours, preferable 12-18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
The dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on
it. Sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface or to your fingers, gently shape it into a ball. Generously coat a clean dish towel with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal. Put the seam side of the dough down on the towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another towel and let raise for about 1 to 2 hours. When it’s ready, the dough will have doubled in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
At least 20 minutes before the dough is ready, heat your oven to 475 degrees. Put a 6 to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in the oven as it heats. When the dough is ready, carefully remove the pot from the oven and lift off the lid. Slide your hand under the towel and turn the dough over into the pot, seam side up. The dough will lose its shape a bit in the process, but that’s OK. Give the pan a firm shake or two to help distribute the dough evenly, but don’t worry if it’s not perfect; it will straighten out as it bakes.
Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake another 15 to 20 minutes, until the loaf is beautifully browned. Remove the bread from the Dutch oven and let it cool on a rack for at least 1 hour before slicing.

Yield: One 1 ½ -pound loaf.

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