Wednesday, December 26, 2007

No-Knead Bread

This honestly is the best bread that you will ever make, with absolutely no effort involved. You mix up the ingredients, wait 18 hours, flip it around a bit on a floured counter, wait, bake, wait some more, and eat. There are a million blog postings out there about this bread, so I won't clog up the information highway much more than to point to the original recipe here.

Oh, and to weigh in on two much-debated points. The first is the type of casserole to bake it in. Fancy bakers, or at least folks with a better arsenal than me (okay, I do have a set of All-Clad, but they were a gift long before I even knew what All-Clad was, and the same goes for the cashmere sweaters that the moths ate) use a Le Creuset casserole. I went with my wedding-gift, still-in-use Dansk casserole: enameled interior, not that heavy a gauge, and it worked fine.
Second, the original recipe calls for instant yeast. I've been baking bread since peasant blouses and dresses made out of Indian bedspreads in junior high and I've never seen instant yeast. Instead, I used two tsp. active yeast, proofed for a few minutes in the water to make sure it was alive, and everything rose and blossomed as needed.

I did the final rise of the loaf on baking parchment. Highly recommended: this way, you gently ease the paper into the casserole, put it in the oven, and wait. The original version suggests that you ease, maneuver, pour, or plop the very wet dough into the pre-heated casserole. And you get this lovely corona effect of baked paper around loaf:
Crust. . .
Interior. . .

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