Thursday, May 17, 2007

lazy man's no knead bread

a day late and a dollar short, that's the story of my life. having been out of blogging commission for quite some time with the great science experiment and trying to keep alive something that is clearly unfit for survival, i'm a bit behind the curve. well, let's just say a bit more behind the curve than usual. i'm sure most of you have probably already tried, or at least heard of this miraculous "no knead bread". yesterday's news. been there, done that. "who is this rae that is sooo out of it," you might be wondering, and "is she such a fossil that she is still wearing her original eighties wardrobe without an ounce of irony?". ahem, well, firstly, let me just say that irony is in the eye of the beholder. secondly, that there is nothing wrong with those high waisted, pleated jeans, big-shouldered blazers in a riot of neon colors, and rockin'ly large, frizzy, home-frosted hair. which is not to say that is my look per se. that would be way, way too hip for me.

but i digress. the point is that you've probably already tried this recipe. but if you haven't, whatever your excuse for lagging, the time has come. because it is good. and easy. even this lazy atkins-free carb-ovoire with the ten yeast killing digits managed to produce a very decent loaf. all you need is the proper vessel and advance planning.

if you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you're probably aware that i am a self-proclaimed atrocious baker. the anti-baker. my hockey pucks come out with pentacles charred into the crust. yet despite it all, i dream of a crisp crust, that homey smell of freshly baked bread wafting through the house, a steaming, airy and spongy slab of carb-o-riffic goodness seducing a pat of earth balance margarine into a velvety silky sheen. and so i try and try and try again to master the mighty loaf. usually with results unfit for even these filthy city pigeons of whom i am so terribly (and according to sf city ordinance, illegally) fond.

anyway, this is a weird recipe. it requires a super long overnight sponge. a dutch oven. and a fork. the dough is so wet that it needs walls to support its vertical rise, which, unless you have the perfect lidded vessel, can result in a ciabatta shaped loaf. but look at the texture of the bread. holey smoke! holes. lots of holes. almost as many holes in that loaf as in (according to the stepmother) my gun-totin' pappy's underwear. now them there's a whole heap o' holes.

so on to the recipe. i've also provided a link to bryanna clark grogan's blog here where you can find step by step pictures of the process and the citation for the original recipe souce.

just in case you were wondering, the hell-worm is growing monstrously huge, of sumo proportions, and developing the lung power of the landlady in kung fu hustle.

no knead bread
3 cups unbleached flour
¼ teaspoon instant yeast, or 1/3 teaspoon regular dry active yeast
2 teaspoons salt
cornmeal for dusting

combine flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl.add 1 ½ cups water and mix until blended. cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for 12-18 hours at about 70 degrees (you can do this inside your oven if you have a pilot light, otherwise, just pick the warmest spot in your kitchen-but i just stuck mine on the cold counter for the max amount of time). after 2-18 hours the surface should be dotted with bubbles. place the dough on a floured surface and fold it a few times. cover and let rest for another 15 minutes, then shape into a ball. the dough will be very sticky, use just enough flour to prevent it from sticking to your hands. coat a cotton kitchen towel with cornmeal and place ball seamside down, sprinkling top with more cornmeal. cover with another towel and let rise for 2 hours or until doubled. preheat oven to 450 with a 6-8 quart heavy covered (cast iron, enamel, pyrex or ceramic) lidded pot for 30 minutes. remove hot pot from oven and place dough into pot. cover with lid and bake for 30 minutes. remove lid and continue to bake for 15-30 minutes until browned.
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