Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What We All Knead Now

In these troubled times, it's nice to have a few basic skills under your belt.

'No Knead Bread' might be one just of them. While, since it's NO knead, you won't be able to work out your frustrations concerning the current state of the election process, choices and/or just general crap; nor will you be able to knead away your stock market woes. But when you're done, you WILL be able to sit down with home-made bread. And butter. And some jam. And THAT, I'm sure, can make a miserable day lovely. If even for just a moment.

Recipe: No-Knead Bread - New York Times

Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

I must confess I haven't done this yet as it is still hitting 95*+ here in the Mojave desert. But I am currently dreaming of cooler weather. And I think this will become a favorite 'coping' skill. Luna knows I need one.

Save the Earth. It’s the only planet with chocolate.


Blogger Diane said...

Found your site because I was having problems with a clapotis I was making (ran out of wool before I ran out of pattern to knit). Trying to figure out where I should rip it back to...though with your excel spreadsheet looking like so much fun, I may just frog it and start anew! Really enjoying your blog, glad I found it. (I haven't made this bread yet, but I've been meaning to...)

11:51 AM  

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