Bread blather

Since I got a comment asking for the recipe, I thought I’d do a small post on no-knead bread (although, as a caveat, I should not that my thoughts are certainly not as sophisticated as some of the ones you will get from serious food bloggers if you google “no-knead bread”. I’m just a knitter who bakes on the side!).

The basic recipe I use was published in the New York Times last winter and can be found here. It makes pretty good bread, but I think better bread can be made with a few modifications.

1. The 12 hour rising time should probably be treated as a minimum–I usually leave mine for 18-20 hours.

2. The recipe calls for a LOT of liquid relative to the quantity of flour. The dough should be sticky, but if I make it exactly according to the directions, it is totally unmanageable. I would suggest, if you are using all white flour, adding another 1/4 c. flour for starters. You may then need to add more–I would not be surprised if the best flour:liquid ratio varies between different brands of flour, and it will definitely be different if you use something other than white flour. For example, whole wheat flour tends to be much more absorbent than white flour. I think flour also varies somewhat by country–I have some pastry recipes from my father’s old Australian cookbooks and the first few times I made pastry it turned out terribly. Then Dad informed me that Australian flour requires less liquid than American flour. So, something else to keep in mind.

3. The recipe as written could really use a bit more salt. I usually add a little less than a tablespoon.

4. Preheating the pot really does give superior results. However, do remember to grease the pot *before* you preheat it, if you do not want to burn your fingers off, as I have been known to do. Remember also that the pot will be hot as you put the dough in–if you are using a very deep pot it is especially important to remember this!

5. While this bread is delicious by itself, it also works beautifully with add-ins. I generally put add-ins into the dry flour and then mix it all in with the liquid. Some I have tried and loved:

-rosemary (add a little olive oil as well)

-sunflower seeds and a sub of 2 c. whole wheat flour for 2 c. white. I have added a bit of honey to this mix also which works well sometimes, and doesn’t other times–more experimentation is clearly needed. Other nuts/seeds also go well with the whole-wheat version. I have tried and enjoyed walnuts and pumpkin seeds.

-garlic and italian seasoning type herbs (I usually stick with basil and oregano). Just slice some raw garlic cloves up and stick them in with a generous tablespoon of basil, oregano, marjoram, etc.

-cinnamon and raisins, for a more “breakfasty” bread. Other kinds of dried fruit (cherries, for example) can also work well.

Really though, this bread is so easy and so cheap to make (you don’t even have to use much yeast, which I like as yeast can actually be relatively pricey!) that there’s no reason not to experiment a little and try your own variations.

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