Tag Archives: bread

Weekend Wonder: Don’t Forget about No-Knead Bread

Did you forget what is possible by barely batting an eyelash?  Amazing, crispy-crusted, moist, chewy bread.  I know, I know, no-knead bread is so 2006.  But maybe it’s time to go back in time (anyone else thinking Huey Lewis right now?) and revisit.  I did not have a blog in 2006 and I want to be like all the other bloggers and write about it too. So in case you forget  how easy it is to be a bread superstar….here we go.    Recipe is from Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery and I used it as a great baking idea for kids and parents for the foodnetwork.ca.

14 hours later…

I like to mix this together (at least 3 minutes of hard work) around 9pm the night before I need (or don’t knead-ha!) the bread.  (Usually so it’s ready to go Saturday morning.)

Whisk together 3 cups flour (AP or bread flour) with ¼ teaspoon instant yeast and 1 ¼ teaspoons salt in the bowl.  Add 1 ½ cups water and stir with a spatula until a dough comes together (30 sec-1 min).  Lightly grease a second medium bowl and transfer the dough into.  Cover and rest the dough for 12-18 hours at room temperature.

Fold the bread over a couple times…

Flour a work surface lightly and remove the dough from the bowl.  Fold it over once or twice.  Let rest for 15 minutes on the work surface.

Shape the dough into a ball.  Coat a clean, cotton tea towel generously with flour and place the dough ball (seam side down) on the towel.  Lightly dust the dough with flour and cover with another towel.  Allow to rise until doubled, 1-2 hours.  Watch part of a What Not To Wear marathon.

THEN:

Preheat the oven to 450°F.  You will bake the bread in a 6-8 quart oven-safe pot with a lid (such as a Le Creuset).  Place the empty pot in the oven 30 minutes before baking.

Remove the hot pot from the oven. This is the trickiest part, transfer your dough, seam side up into the pot (BE CAREFUL!).  Try and just flip the dough into the pot using the tea towel –but if it deforms as it goes in, no big deal.  If you don;t have enough flour on the tea towel it will stick–so don’t skimp.

Cover and bake for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes covered.

After 30 minutes remove the lid.  The crust will be golden.  Bake another 15 minutes.  The rust will turn a rich, dark brown.  Remove the loaf and cool on a rack.

Oh boy!

REJOICE.  And contemplate being a baker.  Surely not everyone’s turns out this well?!   Now you can move onto No-Knead Pizza dough.

Here is Mark Bittman’s New York Time’s article that made this bread famous….(6 year anniversary coming up in November!)

And here is the Jim Lahey’s Sullivan Street Recipe with weight measurements (which I think is best to use if you own a scale).

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Oh Dough Scraper: You Don’t Know What You’ve Got Til It’s Gone

Thank God I found you again under the meat tenderizer, lodged inside the medium size whisk

I wanted to make bread on the weekend and I could not find my dough scraper.  It does often get lost in my messy “tool” drawer as it is white and thin and discrete but usually I pull it out after a couple minutes of desperate searching.  But this day I really could not find it.  Squelching panic I decided, no biggie, I can forge ahead yet soon realized that bread making life was nowhere near as comfortable without ol’ Scrapey.  Scraps I sometimes call him–or “stupid piece of plastic” if I’m mad.  (Those are all lies, we never speak)

Anyway, a bread scraper or a pastry scraper can also be called a bench scraper (although a bench scraper is a bit different, stainless steel with a straight edge).  This simple tool is all about manipulating dough.  A spatula or your hands can’t lift soft dough well and some cases just plain rip up the dough –plus if the dough is wet–forget about it.

So moving onto irritation 1:  Without my scraper I could not do this:

Scraping out Rios Jr, my sourdough starter is a neat and efficient job with a scraper and is messy, sticky and maddening without.  Wide, flexible and rounded-the scraper gets in all the corners.  (Also great for scraping under a pie crust that has gotten a little sticky or been rolled too thin.)

After not being able to do THAT….I then could not do this:

And nothing scrapes down a mixing bowl quickly like you-know-who.   You also like it on hand to then gather your slightly damp, sticky dough and remove it from the mixing bowl.  See below:

I hope you get the idea. It was near impossible to take the picture and lift dough!

And finally, on the cutting board, the scraper lets you lift, roll, move the dough around and scrape up any sticky bits left on the counter or work surface.  There is serious satisfaction in efficiently flaking dough bits away and leaving a smooth, clean surface.

Again, one handed demo with other hand on camera, apologies it is not more action packed.

And as mentioned earlier you can then also portion your dough into smaller loaves or buns with the scraper (which I did in the Fougasse recipe) but in this case I was just making my usual two loaves.

In hindsight, knowing how much I need him, I give at least 35% credit to my plastic bread scraper for any loaf I have ever made.    I love you man.

Dedicated to a lost (and found) kitchen essential and sidekick.

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Filed under Blogs with cooking tips, Ruminations on the Edible

Fougasse: White Bread Glee

Chewy Good Times

Easy. Impressive.  Can be hooked on the end of your bike handlebars.  These chewy, pretzel-like loaves are my new Gleedom.

I mean, look at them!  (let me show you an overhead.)

They multiply like rabbits, be careful.

The Fougasse first caught my attention in Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table where she explains that this Provencal-style bread should be eaten warm and with simple food,  like some saucisson and a glass of rosé.  Ideal for picnics.  And guess where I took mine?  On le picnic.  Man, sometimes my French instincts overwhelm me.

The recipe I actually used came from the book Dough by Richard Bertinet which has the Fougasse on the front cover. Most importantly in the book Mr. Bertinet said this was easy to make and would impress people.  Well, who am I if not someone who wants to impress with the least effort possible?

Cornmeal dusted dough

You start by making a simple white bread dough (yeast, bread flour, salt, water) and letting it rest for 1 hr until it doubles in size.  My dough took longer, maybe an hour and a half, perhaps the kitchen was a bit cool. Then you gently plop it on the counter-careful not to deflate it–and let it rest another five minutes.

Using your bread scraper you cut the dough in two (and giggle to yourself because it looks like a bum!).

And then into 6 pieces.

Baby Fougasse.

You then take each piece of dough and use the edge of your scraper to make a few diagonal cuts through the dough.  Which you then “fan out” with your fingers.

You Must Be My Lucky Star

You can also keep the dough rectangular and make parallel cuts and pull them apart to make a “ladder” shape.  Fewer holes are better because as the dough bakes any small holes will close up.  Obviously I am far (but pretty close) from being a master at this so I did most of my fougasse with only three cuts.

Ready for heat.

Now take your fougasse and pop them on a baking tray (or a wooden peel if you have one so you can slide it onto your baking stone already pre-heated in the oven 450 F).  I baked mine two at a time on a tray.  You can also press olives, or herbs into your fougasse at this point.

I did use a spray bottle to spritz some moisture into the oven before I shut the door to help get a nice crust on the bread (steam helps crust up the exterior and keep the interior soft).

Tear apart and eat.

Et Voila!  12 minutes later a delicious picnic snack.  Just wrap them in a clean tea towel and go.

(Would also work as tasteful accessories for a meat dress).

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