Saturday 30 June 2012

No-knead Table Bread

This bread, as bread goes, is wonderful in its simplicity, full of alveoles, soft and chewy it makes a fantastic table bread for a tasty dinner. Although I love sourdough above all else, sometimes I find myself without my loyal starter so I turn to this as an easily thrown together table bread, all it needs is some patience!


Prep. Time 30 min.
Waiting time: About 21 hours total
Bake time: About 20 min.

-4c. flour  (White flour will provide a big, tasty, fluffy bread with, wholewheat flour make for a far heavier but more nutritious loaf, great for toasting with peanut butter. If you're just starting out, I suggest giving white a go)
 -2tsp salt
-2c. room temperature water 
-3/4tsp instant yeast

Combine salt, flour and yeast making sure that the salt and yest don't come in direct contact at first, I simply pour them on opposite end of the bowl of flour and then stir it all with a fork.

Add the water, you can simply take it from the tap but remember that you don't want it too cold as that will delay fermentation

It might feel too moist at first or too dry later but if you just keep mixing it, it'll work out, trust the quantities, just mix it together with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until it's roughly homogenous.

Now cover the bowl it's in (it should just take up the bottom of the bowl, say 1/4 or a third to allow it to rise) with a damp (but not wet) clean dishtowel or a tupperware lid that fits the bowl. Make sure the towel wrap is far from touching the loaf.

Let it sit at ambient temperature, aim for 22 degrees celsius, for 18 hours, if you're having trouble controlling temperature, stash it in a small room/closet with temperature control.

After 18 hours have elapsed, coat a large baking pan (or even better, a stone, tile or even a dutch oven!) with parchment paper or a generous dusting of flour and deflate the very wet and sticky dough by unsticking it from the walls and shaping it into a ball with a spatula or spoon. Don't worry about punching it down like one might with other breads, it isn't necessary for this one. Feel free to add a bit of flour as you work to prevent it from sticking to your hands.

shape the dough into one large loaf if following the horizontal axis of the pan, or into two smaller ones, as this dough is very wet, don't worry about stretching it into a certain shape, it will widen as it rises.

once this is done let the dough rise another hour or two.

Near the end of the 2-3 hours preheat your oven to 450-500 fahrenheit. When its fully preheated and the bread has risen, dust the top of your bread with flour (Or cornmeal/sesame seeds/poppy seeds) Spray water into the preheated oven using an atomizer or throw some water into the base.You can also put some ice cubes in the oven with the bread. The steam will guarantee a fantastic crust.
Half brown, half white loaves, just waiting for some good olive oil or fresh butter...

Bake for 12-20 minutes until browned and risen. Attempt not to open the oven while they bake the first 10min and if you do open it, add mist every time as steam will escape. If you do open the over watch your eyes as the escaping steam can burn them! It is also very important to watch out for the smell of burning, at this temperature the bread cooks very fast! Also, only put one baking sheet at a time for good heat dispersion. Once you pop the loaves out, let them cool for at least ten minutes... it's tough but worth it.

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