Saturday, 6 July 2013

No-knead bread

As much as I love food and exploring new tastes all over the world, there isn't anything as delicious as a freshly baked bread with good butter. Well, that and my Dad's sausage gravy. And his Spaghetti Bolognese...

Since this blog is still fairly young,  there are many recipes out there that have reached a bit of a cult status in the blogosphere that I have not yet had the time to dabble with. Today I got to tick one off my list: the no- knead bread. This recipe has been spreading on the net like wildfire for years and every single time the reviews have been so ecstatic that my expectations were higher than Jude Law's hairline.

And oooohs and aaaahs were heard here too. Rustic appearance, crunchy crust, the air bubbles, light inside... everything you could ask from a bread is here. In an easy-to-achieve form. But there is a catch - you need time. Like, 24 hours.

Most recipes use dry yeast, but as I've never learnt to understand the Spanish version, I used fresh.

5 g fresh yeast/ 1/2 tsp dry yeast
7 dl flour and more for baking
3,5 dl water
1,5 sp salt

Mix yeast with warm water. Then add flour and salt. The dough will be loose, but don't you worry. Cover firmly with cling film and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 14-18 hours.

Coat your work surface liberally with flour and dump the dough on top. Press away the air and fold it over a couple of times (one recipe I came across gave "folding a napkin" as reference) so it starts resembling bread. Cover it with flour and put in a basket (or bowl) to rise for at least another hour. Keep covered.

When you're ready  to start baking, put a cast iron/ clay pot into the oven. Then turn it on and heat up to 230°. Once it's reached the right temperature, let the pot heat up for another 20 minutes. Then carefully remove it from the oven, drop the bred into it and cover with the lid. Bake covered for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and continue baking uncovered for another 10-15 minutes.

Remove the pot from the oven, let cool for a while, take the bread out of the pot (it should just fall off) and cool on a rack. That is it. And here it is!

I was in awe, but The Gentleman isn't quite as easily persuaded. He still feels foccacia is the best bread I've ever made.

The bread is goooooooood on its own with some butter, but makes a  great accompaniment for soups too and works well with for instance taramasalata at  a picnic table!

You could use a mix of pretty much any flour. At the second phase you could also add seeds or nuts or chopped up olives or sun-dried tomatos or herbs or...

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