Thursday, December 21, 2006

Who Needs No-Knead Bread?

You do, I do, we all do!

Sometime back, whilst doing a perusal of the blogs that I normally visit once or twice a day, I came upon this post at Hedgehog's Life's A Quilt blog showing a lovely loaf of bread and linking to a recipe in the New York Times for making a loaf of no-knead artisan style bread.

When I saw this recipe, I was completely intrigued, because as an artisanal bread baker, I am used to long, slow rises for my doughs and sometimes taking two days to complete the entire process. So, Tuesday evening in the middle of dinner prep, I decided to start a batch. Since we keep our home as cold as a meat locker (just ask the kids), I put the dough bowl in the oven that I'd warmed up for a few minutes.

I have been baking artisan Italian breads for years using Carol Field's The Italian Baker, in fact, when hubby and I honeymooned in the Napa Valley, he bought me a KitchenAid stand mixer and I was off to the races. Our favorite recipe is Pane Pugliese and I divide the dough into eight pieces instead of two. Each mini-loaf is just right for two people and two bread-loving miniature Schnauzers. =)

Following the instructions last night, I shaped the dough and gave it a second rise, also in the oven and then preheated my Le Cruset dutch oven at the required temperature. Upending the dough into the hot pan was tricky, and it stuck to the tea towel, obviously not enough flour for the wet, wet dough.

In spite of that, the bread came out beautifully with a thick crunchy crust and nice interior. The flavor that bread develops when the wheat is allowed to rise slowly and develop fully is out of this world! Last night we enjoyed it with some lovely linguine in a minimalist sauce consisting of garlic, leek, homemade sausage with pine nuts and basil, green beans, mushrooms and broccoli with a dash of red pepper. (My typical "clean out the 'fridge" kind of recipe.) We did restrain ourselves and saved half of the loaf for our Solstice Supper tonight.

Even people who don't fancy themselves bread bakers can enjoy this recipe, it really is easy, easy, easy.

All you need is patience.


Tazzie said...

Your dinner looks so tasty it's making my mouth water! I'm definitely going to have to try the bread, thank you so much for sharing!

Hedgehog said...

I'm so happy that you tried the bread!! I need to make more after the holidays. My place is also quite chilly, so I let it sit longer the first time. I want to play with working some seeds into the dough.

Nancy, Near Philadelphia said...

Drooling, Near Philadelphia

Karrin Hurd said...

Looks scrumptious Jan!

Patti said...

Now that I'm done drooling all over my keyboard can you tell us how to make the liunguine? After over 37 years of trying to figure out what to make for dinner, I'm so bored with everything I cook!

Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season!

Cheryl said...

The bread and linguine sounded great! How's "Water for Elephants" going? It is next up on my list. I'm about half way through "The Historian" which has been a surprising great read!

Jenni @ Fairybread said...

I saw the recipe on Hedgie's blog too, and even bought some yeast. I have a Le Crueset pot also, but I haven't made it yet. I should do it this week, as yeast quicky goes out of date I think. Looks yummy. Oh and if that is a minimalist sauce, I'd love to see a full-on one!