23 June 2008

staff of life

no knead bread

I'm possibly the last person on the planet to try this bread, aren't I? A few months ago everyone was doing it but I was all Meh, I've got my bread machine, I've got my trusty sourdough recipe ... I don't knead* another bread ...

* Did you see what I did there? Totally unintentional.

... and then I killed my sourdough starter, shock horror. And my breadmaker is for everyday pedestrian bread; I like a good chewy artisan loaf on the weekends. It goes better with the weekend papers and lazy afternoons.

So I gave the New York Times No Knead Bread a whirl, and I'm pleased to report it's a goer. This is the second loaf I've made, and this time I added the full amount of salt recommended as I'd skimped on it first time round, remembering comments around the blogosphere that the resulting bread was too salty. But it was a little too bland with the low dose of salt, so this time I added the prescribed amount, and for a change used 2/3 white flour and 1/3 wholemeal flour.

Whoohoo, it's sensational. We had it tonight with a hearty rich beef stew and mashed potato (we like our carbs we do we do) and a lovely glass of red.

The only thing about this recipe is the timing, as the first rise takes 12-18 hours. The long rise is in lieu of kneading, I presume? Once you've figured out whether you'll be around, or even awake, in 12 to 18 hours' time in order to do the punch down and then the second (2 hour) rise, it's a breeze.

I'm looking forward to it toasted, with nectarine jam and a cup of English Breakfast tomorrow.

17 comments:

innercitygarden said...

I can tell you, as the mother of a very unpredictable toddler, that the timing of the first rise is rather elastic. Unless you stick it on your heater to proove it really wont matter if it's closer to 20 hours. There was even one day in summer when I left it longer. It developed a bit of a sourdough taste, which was no bad thing, and a bit of a crusty top, which I removed before doing the second mini-knead.

It's also nice with oats, and you've reminded me that if I don't get back out of bed and combine the ingredients I will not be showing off bread to my dinner guests tomorrow.

Di at clementineshoes wrote about how she fitted the bread-making into the day when her baby was little, which was good because I was too tired to figure it out by myself.

blackbird said...

The recipe has now (I'm sure you know) been written and rewritten dozens of times -
I have our most recent version from Cook's Illustrated which requires less rising time. Let me know if you'd like to try it.
We sometimes get stymied by that 18 hour business...

CelloBella said...

I am so trying this out.

M said...

It's easy to get stymied by slow cooking but really 18 hours is fine when you realise there is nothing going on for those 18 hours. Just waiting. This from the girl who stirred Quince paste for FOUR HOURS having not read ahead to that critical bit of the recipe.

I'm going to have to plan some time over the school holidays to make this bread. It looks totally scrumptious.

Elizabeth said...

I must be the only person on the planet who didn't care for this bread. It was too raw yeasty tasting for my liking.
Luckily my starter is still going strong.

Badger said...

Okay, well that bread I've been raving about over at my place (actually more on the cooking blog than the main blog) is a variation of that, but the initial rise is only TWO hours. I usually mix up a batch of dough right after clearing the dinner dishes, then just stick it in the fridge before I collapse into bed. It does have to rest outside of the fridge a bit before baking, but only for about an hour.

So the upside is, bread = yummy. The downside is that I'm going to gain 400 pounds.

Ursula said...

Suse,
this long-time lurker wants to push you in the direction of this recipe:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/21/dining/211brex.html?ref=dining. (I'm sorry, but I don't know how to link properly). Its the best bread I've ever made, I've eventually bought the book and do bake almost daily. I don't use a baking stone nor a loaf pan, but steam is crucial for the right crust.
Try it and enjoy!!
Ursula

thimbleina said...

The bread looks yummy, I must get around to doing this recipe.

bluemountainsmary said...

All I know is as a fellow carb lover that your dinner sounded wonderful!

I may try this over the holidays.

katiecrackernuts said...

Oh poop. I just wrote a long comment and blogger ate it. Oh well. General gist of it was "yum" and "oh yum" and "yum".

elena jane said...

yum...still haven't tried this. everytime i mention it to hubbythebreadmaker, he says "too yeasty"...whatever ;)

alice c said...

Can I say first that it looks delicious.

And second - what's the big deal with kneading? That is the bit of breadmaking that I enjoy so I never really understood the point of a no-knead bread. I guess I will have to make it and discover for myself.

Stomper Girl said...

Second last Suse, I haven't tried it either. And I'm just about to make myself a new sourdough starter from your recipe so that I can get back into the sourdough swing. By special request of the 7 year old who thought your bread (or my version of your bread) was the best thing since ..err ... well, the best thing.

MsCellania said...

Third last Suse, I've never tried it either! Bread is a bit of a no-no for me, so I better not try it and get addicted.

fiona said...

yum, you had me at the jam and tea bit!

Bird Bath said...

I love bread...and that recipe is my favourite. Only thing is you need to plan ahead.
It makes for great pizza bases too.

Kate said...

I was loving on that last winter. But it turns out, it gives me reflux. This makes me sad...