Wednesday, May 29, 2013
It has been a bad baking week for me. I made lemon bars with soggy base, brownies that tasted funny, coconut bread as heavy as brick and brioche that didn’t rise to the occasion.
This no-knead bread was my only success all week. I have made it two more times since and I'm really excited about sharing this recipe here. The bread is super easy to put together, requires only 5 basic ingredients, and the result is a beautiful crusty bread that is as good as what you get from the bakery. In fact, after making this no-knead bread, I don't think I will buy another loaf of crusty bread from the shops again.
There are 3 changes I have made to the original recipe. First off, the dough after more than half a day of resting will be very sticky. The original recipe suggests placing the dough on a floured cotton towel and covering it with another cotton towel for the second proofing. I found that the dough still stick to the cotton towels even after I have dusted the dough with a generous amount of flour. So the way around it is to use baking paper instead of cotton towels.
The second recommendation is to put the dough on a baking paper before putting it in the pot. The first time I make this bread, it got stuck in the pot and I couldn’t get it out... which is a shame because the bread was perfect otherwise. I did a search on “help, no-knead bread stuck to pot” and found that a lot of people had the same problem too. Apparently, it was because the pot wasn't hot enough when we put the dough in.
On the Martha Steward website, the recommended oven temperature is 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 degrees Celsius). My oven doesn't go that high. I baked the bread at 425 degrees Fahrenheit (220 degrees Celsius) and it turned out great.
(Adapted from Jim Lahey at Sullivan Street Bakery via Martha Stewart)
3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour, more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
Olive oil, as needed
In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast, and salt. Add 1 1/2 cups water and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Coat a second large bowl with olive oil. Transfer dough to oiled bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, but preferably up to 18, at room temperature. When surface is dotted with bubbles, dough is ready.
Lightly flour work surface. Place dough on work surface and sprinkle with more flour. Fold the dough over on itself once or twice. Loosely cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
Sprinkle just enough flour over work surface and your fingers to keep dough from sticking; quickly and gently shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a baking paper with flour; place dough seam side down on baking paper and dust with more flour. Cover with another sheet of baking paper and cotton towel on top. Let rise until it has more than doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with a finger, about 2 hours.
After about 1 1/2 hours, preheat oven to 220 degrees celsius (425 degrees fahrenheit). Place a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot, such as cast-iron or Pyrex, in oven as it heats. When dough has fully risen, carefully remove pot from oven. Remove top towel from dough and turn dough over onto a baking paper, seam side up, and place dough together with the baking paper into the pot. Shake pan once or twice if dough looks unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover, and bake 30 minutes. Uncover, and continue baking until browned, 15 to 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.