No-Knead Bread

Maybe I am a sheeple…but it works.
The latest trend in bread baking was brought on by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois in their book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I just ordered the book. While I wait for the book to arrive, I decided to try out the master recipe that has been posted all across blogs and newspapers. The duo have a website, click here.

 

Master Recipe by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois
Makes four 1-pound loaves

3 cups lukewarm water (about 100º F)
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher or other coarse salt
6 1/2 cups all-purpose white flour (no need to sift)
Cornmeal for the pizza peel

 

In a 5-quart bowl, mix the yeast, water and salt. Add all the flour, then use a wooden spoon to mix until all ingredients are uniformly moist. It is not necessary to knead or continue mixing once the ingredients are uniformly moist. This will produce a loose and very wet dough.

Cover with a lid (not airtight). Allow the mixture to rise at room temperature until it begins to collapse, about 2 hours, but no more than 5 hours.

After rising, the dough can be baked immediately, or covered (non completely airtight) and refrigerated up to 14 days. The dough will be easier to work with after at least 3 hours refrigeration.

On baking day, prepare a pizza peel by sprinkling it liberally with cornmeal to prevent the bread from sticking when you transfer it to the oven. Uncover the dough and sprinkle the surface with flour. Pull up and cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit-size) piece of dough (serrated knives are best). Store the remaining dough in the bowl and refrigerate for baking at another time.

Hold the mass of dough in your hands and add a little more flour as needed so it won’t stick. Create a smooth ball of dough by gently pulling the sides down around to the bottom, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. While shaping, most of the dusting flour will fall off. The bottom of the loaf may appear to be a collection of bunched ends, but it will flatten out during resting and baking. Shaping the loaf this way should take no more than 1 minute.
Place the dough on the pizza peel. Allow the loaf to rest for about 40 minutes. It does not need to be covered. The bread may not rise much during this time.

Twenty minutes before baking, place a pizza stone on the center rack of the oven. If you don’t have a baking stone, use another baking sheet. Remove any upper racks. Place a broiler pan on a rack below the pizza stone or on the floor of the oven. Preheat oven to 450 F.

When the dough has rested for 40 minutes, dust the top liberally with flour, then use a serrated knife to slash a 1/4-inch-deep cross or tic-tac-toe pattern into the top.

Slide the loaf off the peel and onto the baking stone. Quickly but carefully pour 1 cup of hot water into the broiler tray and close the oven door.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned and firm to the touch. Allow the bread to cool completely, preferably on a wire cooling rack.Here is a picture of my first try. I was definitely impressed and surprised that it worked.

 

It isn’t so pretty, but it tastes good dipped in olive oil. Would be good with a good hearty soup. I hope for prettier bread with the remaining dough. I will add some rosemary and garlic with the next batch.

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About Hindy Garfinkel
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03447191221678916246 jhertz10

    Hi AOOTM:

    It looks like your oven may not be holding in the steam all that well. I’m Jeff Hertzberg, one of the co-authors of “Artisan Bread In Five Minutes A Day.”

    The color of your loaf in the picture is the giveaway, it just has a dull look. When the steam does its thing, you get a more lively color. There are two things you can do if your oven seems to be venting away the steam. First, you can paint water directly onto the loaf using a pastry brush. Second, cover the loaf with an foil roasting pan to trap steam next to the loaf (the steam will come from the bread itself).

    Come visit us at http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com, where you can post questions into any “Comments” field, or into the “Bread Questions” gateway.

    Jeff Hertzberg
    http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16965640339124590526 NSG

    Huh. I thought the bread looked good. But I am neither a bread eater, nor a published chef(though I am published!!)

    Cool tips, nonetheless.

    Woot woot!

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