No-Knead (Need) to Worry! [No-Knead Bread]

22Nov09

This semester has passed by at an enormous rate.  Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was running around the beaches of Southern California like a carefree bird?  All of a sudden I found myself back in the brisk and breezy air of San Francisco, rushing from day to day to keep up with law school.  It’s been a busy semester (the second year is always worst), made especially bad because of a multitude of activities I’ve seemed to overload myself with.  Between performing all the duties that come with being the President of our school’s APALSA, futilely trying to study for the Patent Bar, looking for a job (seriously, it’s like a part-time job), and studying and reading for class, I’ve effectively become a hermit.

But you knew that already.

So what am I really talking about?  The fact that I am almost half-way done with law school.  The last day of the semester is this coming Tuesday, and finals start right after Thanksgiving.  Once I survive this round of finals, I’m halfway there!  Or so I tell myself.  I’d still have to pass the bar, but that is one hurdle I’m not going to contemplate until I reach it.

[[Speaking of which– Congratulations to all the recent takers of the California Bar Exam who passed! Congratulations– it’s quite an achievement.  This entry is (in part) dedicated to you! ]]

But the rest of the entry I must dedicate to those of you who, like me, are suffering through finals.  You can do it!  Fight through!  1Ls– study hard!  2Ls– study harder!  3Ls — stop studying (so I can have an easier curve)!   Just kidding about that last one.  Sort of.

Anyway, I’m posting a recipe that I had been wanting to try for the past two years but never had a chance to because I was afraid.  In retrospect, I’m not sure why I was afraid because this has got to be one of the easiest bread recipes I’ve ever tried to date.  Probably the easiest in the world.  It certainly doesn’t require much effort or physical prowess, that’s for sure.  Just time.  And the reason why I’m posting this now is because, even though it takes time to make this bread, it also takes so little effort that it actually saves time.  You just start it one day and by the next you have a fresh, hot loaf of crusty, delicious bread!

The only caveat is that you need a dutch oven.  I got one as a birthday gift from my parents.  The one I use can hold up to 2 3/4 quarts.

And it’s really not that messy at all.  Here’s the recipe (as appropriated from the New York Times; the original can be found here):

No-Knead Bread

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
  • ¼ teaspoon instant yeast **I used Active-Dry, which is all I have in my apartment– I just let it sit longer than instant yeast.
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed. **I didn’t have either– I just used regular flour.

Directions:

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. **I usually try to go for a longer rather than shorter time to allow the gluten to fully develop.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

*Note: Don’t try to eat the bread right away.  It will be extremely hot.

Now you know this, you can make it every day (it’s that simple), or you can make it for an easy bread for Thanksgiving or Christmas, etc.

And to all my fellow student sufferers who are studying and cramming at this very momeny — good luck on finals!

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One Response to “No-Knead (Need) to Worry! [No-Knead Bread]”

  1. 1 Sophia

    Breaaddd. I want.


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