No-kneading bread? It works!

Wow! I am surprised how tasty this bread is!  

Remember, last week I told you that I like to make our bread instead of buying it in the store. I also mentioned that I use a pretty strong kitchen appliance for kneading the heavy dough. After I posted my article, I was asked whether I ever tried Jim Lahey’s no-kneading recipe. A bread dough you don’t knead? Now that was news to me! So, the curious person I am, I searched Jim Lahey’s recipe on the internet and found it.

A sticky recipe

Basically you stir flour, water, salt and a bit of dry yeast together in a bowl and let it rot do its magic, sitting on your kitchen counter for 12 – 18 hours. I started the process in the late afternoon and the next morning I poured, or rather scraped it out and onto the dough tray and let it rest for another 15 min.

Then I had to form a ball, but the dough would spread out to be a flat oval as soon as I took my hands off. They dough rested for 2 hours on a kitchen towel, which I had generously dusted with flour. But, as it would turn out, not generously enough. I covered it with another kitchen towel and a half hour before the resting time was up, I preheated the oven to 250 degrees Celsius. I put my oval roasting pan with the lid on into the oven and heated it up. The recipe asks for a pot with a lid, cast iron, or glass, or ceramic, but I don’t have any of those, at least none that has a lid. Then came the sticky part! (In every imaginable sense of the word!)

After the oven and pot was heated up I was supposed to drop the dough into the pot. But how, when it sticks to the cloth like gum to one’s shoe? Well, in the end I scraped it off and somehow got it into the pot. By that time the pot probably wasn’t even hot enough anymore. Nevertheless, I baked the bread for half an hour, removed the lid and baked it for another 15 min. And voilà, a wonderful smelling bread with a nice crust and a fairly bread-like shape.

That was yesterday, and as I knew in the evening hubby would bring home some cold cuts from our German butcher, and we would have a real German Vesper (cold supper), I was happy and proud, to have freshly baked bread for my men and it kept my mood up all day. My youngest son, I knew, would like it simply because it was WHITE. (He’s been suffering quite a bit because of my obsession for wholesome bread.) And yes, ONLY for my men, you read correctly. Remember, I don’t eat carbohydrates at night! So I had protein bread instead, which I had baked the previous day for the very first time. (I guess that would be another post some time!) This morning though, I had a slice of white bread for breakfast – in addition to my homemade granola. Of course homemade! You should know me well enough by now.

Room for improvement

Anyhow, there is a flaw! The bread tasted so good and therefore was gone far too fast. I can’t and don’t want to bake bread every day. (Hard to imagine, but I do have a life outside the kitchen!) That’s why I like to make 3 or 4 loaves at a time. Now, my roasting pan is fairly large and I think I probably could make a bread almost twice as big in it. If I had another pot with a lid, I could bake two pots in the oven at the same time. So if I quadrupled the ingredients, ….

Also, I think a mixture of darker flours and adding some seeds would produce a really nice wholesome bread. Now, don’t start feeling sorry for my youngest. He already knows he has a mean mother, whose only purpose in life is to torture him with healthy foods!

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2 Comments

  1. Glad it worked out! For a little more flavor, try using beer instead of water. I usually incorporate some sourdough starter in my no-knead (here are directions on how to make your own, if you don’t have access to one: http://35aweek.com/2011/12/31/how-to-make-your-own-sourdough-starter); the taste and crumb is amazing.

    • THANK YOU for the great tip! You are right, it could use a little more flavour. It was a little bland. I’ll definitely try the beer, and the sourdough starter too.

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