Tag Archives: Jim Lahey

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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When the moon hits your eye like a no knead pizza pie….

No knead pizza dough was a revelation and a roaring success—say I, the only one eating the hot pizza yesterday afternoon at 1pm.  A lone witness to my own spectacular creation.

But it really was amazing, the crust was flavourful (the point of the 18 hour ferment) and chewy on the inside, but crisp on the exterior.  And I didn’t even use a pizza stone, mine cracked a while back and I have yet to replace it, but now I want to replace it ASAP.  So much pizza potential in my future!

For some background, here is a good piece on the no-knead recipe (with a video) created by Jim Lahey.   You must try this pizza dough at least once.  Throwing the dough together takes about 45 seconds (give or take a minute) and after an overnight ferment you can have pizza on the table way sooner than delivery can get to you.  Sooner than you can bake a frozen pizza in fact.  And waaaaaaaaaaay better.

If you can, try and use your scale for the measurements as it will be more accurate than cups/measuring spoons.  (Scales are not expensive, invest when you can, it will change your baking for the better.)

Ina  large bowl mix 500g AP flour (3 3/4 cups), 1 gram active dry yeast (1/4 tsp), 16 grams fine sea salt (2 tsp).  Now add 350g water (1 1/2 cups).

*make sure you have the right yeast–not instant and not pizza yeast.

Mix everything with a spatula til the dough comes together and then use your hands to pick up any excess flour with the still sticky parts of the dough.

I ended up with the above.  And then I threw a tea towel over it (or just use saran wrap) and let it sit in a warm part of the house for 18 hours.

And that part is done.  See?  Easy–I barely had enough instructions to go with the pictures.

18 hours later it should have doubled.  (Mine also kind of “splatted” a bit.  Made itself comfortable in the bowl. )  The “doubling” may go slower in a cooler room and faster in a warmer one.

Once doubled, I dumped the dough onto a well floured counter and using a serrated knife cut it into four pieces.  Then you take each piece individually and pull in the edges towards the center…

It doesn’t matter which corner you start with, just pull it forward like you’re folding a handkerchief….(we all still use handkerchiefs right?)

Until you have something like the above.  Then flip your dough over, seam on the bottom, and using your hands mold the dough into a neat ball.

And you will end up with something very satisfactory, like the above.  The dough will feel loose and silky in your hands, it is less stiff than other pizza dough recipes sometimes are.

Since I was not ready to make my pizza, I saran-wrapped my dough balls and put them in the fridge.  They can sit for up to three days.

You bring the dough out of the fridge a couple hours before you want to use it.  Just to get it to room temperature.  (Yes, I probably could have used a bigger plate.)   Also, my dough was a bit damp under the saran wrap, so I just dusted it with a bit of flour once out of the wrap.  Then covered with a tea towel and let warm up.

Let’s summarize: on your actual pizza making day all you have to 1. take dough out of the fridge and 2. form it into a pizza.

Also preheat the oven to 500°F.

The forming is the fun part.  Handle the dough very gently–you want some of the gas/bubbles to remain.  First stretch it lightly with your hands on the work surface to form a small disk.  Then you can pick it up and “pizza guy” style, use your knuckles to pull it out to about 10-12″.  You should also sing the East Side Mario’s theme song while you do this.

My pizzas were about 10″ average.  Before topping move your dough onto a pizza peel or the back of a baking sheet (to avoid the edges) before topping.  Dust the back of the dough well with flour.  (You do not want to try and lift your raw dough once it has toppings on it.  It will be disaster and you will then truly hate pizza making.)

I had some tomato sauce in the fridge, a ball of mozzarella and some prosciutto.  My pizza was born.

Ideally you have a pizza stone in the oven that is heating up and you can slide your pizza off the peel, or off the back of your cookie sheet, onto the stone which will instantly start crisping and cooking the dough.  I just put the pizza in oven on the same cold cookie sheet it started out on–and crossed my fingers.  Bake 6-7 minutes.

Success!  I added some sweet red onion and baby kale leaves and sliced.

Chewy, crispy and delicious.  There will be no crusts left behind when you make this dough.  They may even get eaten first.

(If you love this recipe, you may decide to love Jim Lahey and buy his pizza book My Pizza: The Easy No Knead Way to Make Pizza At Home)

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Art of the Danforth: Feast in the East (and no knead pizza dough)

If you’re already thinking about the weekend (yes, that started Tuesday I know) you might want to check out some of the Art of the Danforth activities.  On Saturday night is an event called Feast in the East which will combine music, art and culinary art.  There are three such events over the course of the festival.  Last week the theme was British/Scottish.  This Saturday, May 26 is Italian and (I am excited about this one) June 9 is Ethiopia.

Meanwhile I am going to finally try the no-knead pizza dough recipe by Jim Lahey, owner of the Sullivan Street Bakery.  It ferments overnight so I will let you know how it goes, but I find pizza is the perfect quick dinner for a Friday night.  Especially if I can whip together the dough today.  I have an easy, favourite recipe but this will apparently “exceed my wildest expectations”.  We shall see.

If you want to do this along with me (in fact, can you do this and I’ll come over and pick up half of the dough tomorrow) here is a link to the recipe from Bon Appetit.

Also, if you make this and then tomorrow on the drive home you’re like, “screw it, I’m ordering Thai” the dough can sit for three days.   A procrastinator’s dream.

Otherwise we can compare notes bright and early Saturday morning.  No, of course not, Saturday is for sleeping in until your spouse does not get up when your toddler is clearly making loud wake-up noises from his bedroom at 7am and someone needs to go get him….

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