Sunday, March 04, 2007

Jer: No Knead Bread

I've always wanted to be the kind of cook that makes bread at home on a regular basis. Unfortunately, my results in the past have always been disastrous -- too gummy, too floury, no rise, not crusty enough. And so much work. I've thought about buying a bread maker but they're so darn big and I've never had the proper counter space for one. Plus, I hate kitchen machines like bread makers and rice cookers and crock pots. Bread has been around for thousands of years so I certainly should be able to make do without needing to drop $300 at Williams Sonoma.

Given my results in the past I was very suspect of what my results would be like with this recipe. I read the directions over and over again and studied some bread making books at the local Borders. No starter, no kneading, no creating steam in the oven with a spray bottle or a tray of ice. It can't be that easy, can it?

But it really was that easy. Five minutes to prepare the dough. Five minutes the day you want to bake it. That's it. So easy I laughed out loud when I took the top off my pot and saw how my mound of wet flour and water had turned into this beautiful artisinal looking round. For lack of a better way to describe the results -- the crust was perfectly crusty; the dough was perfectly doughy; the shape was a perfect round; the color was a perfect golden brown. We sliced it ten minutes after coming out of the oven and it was delicious with french butter and a little sea salt. Based on Elaine's comment about salt, I doubled the salt in the recipe and lined the bowl where it did its rising with some nice olive oil. I also didn't bother with cotton towels for the last two hours of rising. I just lightly dusted a marble surface and topped it with saran wrap and it worked just fine. I had no trouble at all transferring it from the countertop to my Le Creuset. I prepared it Friday morning and put it in the oven Saturday evening -- so from a timing standpoint its very easy as long as you have one day's notice for when people are coming over for dinner.

I can't wait to play around with this recipe ... trying different flours, adding olives or jalapeno, topping with some parmesean ... Thank you Ashley. This was so delicious and easy that I don't think I'll ever buy overpriced bread for company ever again!


Blogger Elaine said...

Gorgeous! So what flour did you end up using? I definitely want to play with the shape too. I have a Le Creuset terrine I want to try the bread in.

04 March, 2007 14:54  
Blogger Jer said...

Gold Medal Artisinal Flour. I am still in search of italian 00. Now that we're in Pasadena I'm not as familiar with where to look for it. We toasted some slices yesterday and had it with butter. Oh my, so so good the next day.

05 March, 2007 10:29  
Blogger Kate said...

It looks delish Jer

05 March, 2007 13:31  

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