Monday, March 17, 2008

No-Knead Bread

An interesting thing to try. It was easy enough to make but lacked any exciting flavor. My loaves had a nice hard outer crust and tender bread on the inside. Fresh from the oven and buttered, it was tasty.
Laura gave me some ideas I could do with spices that sound like it may be the trick to making this bread have a little more flavor.

Give it a try and let me know how it turns out.

1-1/2 tablespoons rapid-rise yeast
1-1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
3 cups lukewarm water (about 100 degrees)
6-1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour plus more for dusting

In a large bowl, mix yeast and salt into water. Stir in flour all at once, mixing with a wooden spoon until there are no dry patches. Dough will be quite loose. Cover, but not airtight. Let dough rise at room temperature 2 hours (or up to 5 hours).
Sprinkle a little flour on the dough and cut off a quarter of it with a serrated knife. Turn dough in hands to lightly stretch surface, creating a rounded top and a lumpy bottom. Set dough on a lined or cornmeal-dusted pizza peel; let rest 40 minutes (see tips). Repeat with remaining dough or refrigerate it for as long as two weeks.
Place broiler pan on bottom of oven. Place baking (pizza) stone on middle rack and turn oven to 450 degrees; heat stone at that temperature for 20 minutes.
Dust dough rounds with flour, and slash tops of each with serrated knife three times. Slide onto hot stone. Pour 1 cup of hot water into broiler pan and shut oven quickly to trap steam. Bake until well browned, about 30 minutes.
Bread-pan variation: If you don't have a baking stone, form each stretched round of dough into an oval and place in a greased, nonstick loaf pan. Let it rest 40 minutes if fresh, an extra hour if refrigerated. Heat oven to 450 degrees for 5 minutes. Place pan on middle rack and bake as directed above.
Cool breads completely on a rack. Makes 4 (1-pound) round loaves, 8-10 slices each.

-- Adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe FranCois.
(Thomas Dunne, $27.95).