Thursday, January 29, 2009

No-Knead Bread Boule


Give us this day our daily bread...which you can make yourself in 5 minutes a day! This is the newest concept in bread baking and I can attest to the fact that it's easy and it works. The instructions for the basic recipe in this cookbook called Artisan Breads in Five Minutes a Day are clear and easy.

You make the dough on one day, which requires no kneading whatsoever. A heavy duty mixer is helpful to get the dough evenly mixed. Let the dough rest for 2 hours on the counter, then place the dough in the refrigerator. Whenever you want to make bread, simply cut off a grapefruit-sized piece of dough, let it rest per the instructions in the recipe, and bake it. Using a broiler pan filled with a cup of hot water right after the loaf is placed on your pizza stone and immediately closing the oven door allows the steam to create a crusty loaf. The wet dough used ensures that the crumb is nice and moist. This same master recipe can be used to make baguettes as well, just by shaping the dough differently.

The basic recipe is:
3 cups water, warmed to 100 degrees
1.5 tablespoons active dry yeast
1.5 tablespoons kosher salt
6.5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Mix the water, yeast and salt in a heavy duty mixer (like Kitchenaid). Add all the flour at once and mix with the dough hook until uniformly moist. Allow to rise, covered loosely, for 2 hours at room temperature, then place in the refrigerator at least 3 hours (overnight is better). When ready to bake, sprinkle the dough with flour and cut off a one-pound piece of dough. Sprinkle a pizza peel with cornmeal. Take the ball of dough and tuck all sides under until the top is stretched and smooth (only takes a few seconds). Then place the dough on top of the cornmeal on the pizza peel to rest. After 20 minutes, heat the oven to 450 with a pizza stone on the middle rack and a broiler pan on the rack below the stone. After another 20 minutes, heat a cup of water, sprinkle the top of the dough with flour, and slash the top of the dough about 1/4 inch deep with a serrated knife in the pattern of your choice. Slide the dough onto the pizza stone and quickly but carefully pour the water into the broiler pan. Close the oven door to trap the steam and bake the boule for 30 minutes or until nicely browned. Allow to cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing.

The book includes many more recipes, from bagels and soft pretzels to whole grain and rye breads. I can't wait to try them all! I found this book in our local library but had to return it - it must be popular! I will definitely be buying my own copy of this book! Look for more breads in subsequent posts...

3 comments:

  1. You have inspired me to try again..

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  2. Well, I still have the giant Costco yeast in my fridge so I have no excuses. I might make some today, my family will be so excited!

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  3. You've got to be kidding me!!...I can barely make brownies from a box...the frozen Rhodes buns are a stretch for me :)..I've never even bought yeast!....but you do need to start an online bakery!!!...have you seen the commercial with the girl making your toffee and selling it?...she never dreamed she could make money doing what she loved...hmmmm....you could too!!!

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