Wednesday, August 27, 2008

No knead bread

I can't believe it but I finally got around to making the No Knead Bread recipe that I'd been hearing about for well over a year.

Even though I thought, as I put it in to the oven, that it was too sticky and wasn't going to turn out, it is really, really good!

Almost No-Knead Bread


An enameled cast-iron Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid yields best
results, but the recipe also works in a regular cast- iron Dutch oven
or heavy stockpot. (See the related information in "Making Your Dutch
Oven Safe for High-Heat Baking" for information on converting Dutch
oven handles to work safely in a hot oven.) Use a mild-flavored lager,
such as Budweiser (mild non-alcoholic lager also works). The bread is
best eaten the day it is baked but can be wrapped in aluminum foil and
stored in a cool, dry place for up to 2 days.

Makes 1 large round loaf
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (15 ounces), plus additional for
dusting work surface
1/4 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water (7 ounces), at room temperature
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons mild-flavored lager (3 ounces)
1 tablespoon white vinegar

1. Whisk flour, yeast, and salt in large bowl. Add water, beer, and
vinegar. Using rubber spatula, fold mixture, scraping up dry flour from
bottom of bowl until shaggy ball forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap
and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 18 hours.

2. Lay 12- by 18-inch sheet of parchment paper inside 10-inch skillet
and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer dough to lightly
floured work surface and knead 10 to 15 times. Shape dough into ball by
pulling edges into middle. Transfer dough, seam-side down, to
parchment-lined skillet and spray surface of dough with nonstick
cooking spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room
temperature until dough has doubled in size and does not readily spring
back when poked with finger, about 2 hours.

3. About 30 minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to lowest
position, place 6- to 8-quart heavy-bottomed Dutch oven (with lid) on
rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Lightly flour top of dough and,
using razor blade or sharp knife, make one 6-inch-long, 1/2-inch-deep
slit along top of dough. Carefully remove pot from oven and remove lid.
Pick up dough by lifting parchment overhang and lower into pot (let
any excess parchment hang over pot edge). Cover pot and place in oven.
Reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake covered for 30 minutes.
Remove lid and continue to bake until loaf is deep brown and
instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 210 degrees, 20
to 30 minutes longer. Carefully remove bread from pot; transfer to
wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.

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