Thursday, 31 January 2013

No need to knead

Better than any bread from your local bakery: home-made artisan bread.
Thanks to my Norwegian friend Kristin I made my first no-knead bread about three weeks ago. She suggested I would give it a try, because Norwegians just like Germans love a hard crust on their fresh bread and she thought I would like it. Would I ever?!?! This is the most delicious bread I have made so far and it really is almost no work at all. By now, I must have already made about six loaves and I want to share with you how it's done. It's so easy.

I basically watched the youtube video by the inventor of this great method, Jim Lahey, from Sullivan Street Bakery in New York. I'ld suggest you watch the video by clicking here.
I tried the recipe exactly as it was suggested and loved the first loaf, but then made little alterations and now I even like it better. You need:

3 cups or 384 grams all-purpose or bread flour
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 5/8 or 406 ml lukewarm water

After step one, the dough will look like a big lump, just cover it.
After 18 hours the dough is smooth, ready to be folded. 
Your house smells like a bakery when the bread is done.

  • Step 1) In a large bowl add flour, yeast and salt and mix the dry ingredients. Add 1 and 5/8 cups or 406 ml lukewarm water and just mix with your hand, no need to knead! Cover with a towel and put in a warm place for at least 12 hours, but 18 hours is even better, I find.
  • Step 2) After 18 hours the dough should be smooth. The yeast did all the work, not your hands. Carefully place the dough on a dusted parchment paper (I use oat meal for dusting) and fold the dough over from the corners to the middle (watch above mentioned video for details). 
  • Step 3) What Jim leaves out in the video is that you should let the dough rise again for at least 30 minutes, better one and a half hours. 
  • Step 4) Place an oven-safe pot that has a heat-proof lid in the oven and preheat to max. (225 degrees celsius is mine, Jim suggests 500 degrees fahrenheit). Detach the dough from the baking sheet and place it into the hot pot. I just flip it over and it comes off easily. I then dust the dough with some more oat bran. Quickly put on the lid and place it in the oven for 30 minutes with the lid on, then another 20 minutes without the lid. Done!

The crust on this bread is amazing. To me and my boyfriend V. this bread tastes better than any artisan bread at the local bakery. It seems like a lot of waiting in between steps. That's why I came up with a schedule that works for me. Here is what I do: I make the dough at around 6 p.m. before I get supper ready, it takes literally 2 minutes, no dirty dishes except for the the measuring cups. The day after at around 10 a.m. I fold the dough. At 11.30 I preheat the oven and at noon I put the bread in the oven. At 12.50 p.m. the bread is ready for lunch or it will be cooled down later-on for supper. Do the calculating and see what schedule works for you. 

Of course I did not only make white bread, but tried some variations. My favourite is this whole wheat bread with flaxseed.

The whole-wheat bread does usually not last more than 12 hours in my house.
1 cup  or 128 grams all-purpose flour
2 cups or 140 grams whole wheat flour
1/4 cup flaxseed
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt 
some oat or wheat bran or cornmeal (I used oat bran)

With your hand just gently mix the ingredients, no kneading at all.
You get a smooth dough without kneading after 18 hours of no work.

The process is exactly the same. Add the flaxseed to your dry ingredients before adding the water. The rest is just the same. This is my personal favourite!

1 comment:

  1. I have made bread before that was okay but not great. Most recently, I tried my hand at pumpernickel with some - uh - "tweaks" and it had to be put out for the birds. It was bad.
    So glad to see this and definitely plan to try, especially with the flax seeds. Thank you!