Wednesday, 11 June 2008

The easiest bread ever...

is no knead bread. Great results for very little effort - what more could you ask!

The basic recipe:

3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp quick yeast

Combine the above ingredients in a large bowl. Stir well, giving a wet and stringy doughy-type-mess (yes that is a technical term!). Cover with a plastic bag or clingfilm to keep it from drying out, and leave for 12-18 hours. I usually start this off in the evening while doing the dishes so I can bake it in the morning. After this time use a spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl onto a clean, floured surface. Let it rest for about 15 minutes. then put it into a banneton, or a cloth lined collander. Leave it again for about 2 hours. Heat up your oven as hot as it will go. Put a dutch oven or pyrex casserole dish with a lid into the oven to heat. When both are hot, put the dough into the dish (carefully!) and shake a little to make sure the dough is even. Put on the lid and return to the hot oven. Cook for 30-45 minutes (depending on how good your oven is). Then remove the lid and bake for 10-15 minutes more, until the crust looks well browned and crispy and the bread sounds hollow when knocked on the bottom. Put onto a cooling rack and resist cutting it for as long as possible!

For this bread I usually use a blend of flours. 2 cups of wholewheat, or spelt and 1 cup of white works very well. I am still working on getting 100% wholemeal to work well but I will put up a recipe when I get it right!

To the basic recipe I usually add some fat. This gives a softer bread that keeps better. Olive oil is nice, as are butter, lard and coconut oil. When using the solid fats I warm them gently to soften them (or let them get to room temp on warm days) then cut them in to the flour with a knife and rub into breadcrumbs before adding the water.

I have also substituted some of the water for milk or yogurt. The bread was a little softer doing this, but it didn't make a big difference. Possible the yogurt helped to break down the phytic acid a little faster/better but I don't know for sure. Either way, I generally just stick to water alone.

No comments: