Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I'm on the bandwagon, too.

The first time I made this recipe, I wanted to write about it. But then I didn't because I was distracted and the draft of the post I wrote ended up sounding too much like a love letter to Jim Lahey. And now it's 3 weeks later and I've made the recipe, tweaking it each time a bit, twice more. 3 loaves of bread in 3 weeks. Pretty sweet - I'm not just tooting Jim's horn; his No-Knead Bread recipe has revolutionized the way I bake, buy, and eat bread.

Jim's recipe calls for white flour, yeast, salt, and water. Pretty darn simple. If you like your bread like that, do it that way. I've been making it at least 1/3 whole wheat, just because why not. I also choose to dust it in wheat bran for the final rise, instead of flour, because I just love the crunch this gives the crust.

I know this is my first time writing about this bread, but I've already boasted about it and encouraged friends to make it. Now I turn to you, readers. If you want to fool guests into thinking you're an expert baker or if you don't and you want to convince someone you just made a trip to your local boulangerie, this bread is for you! Crusty, tasty, great big holey inside... mmmm. Just. Make. It.

Here's the recipe. I'm not sure how long it will do on the counter after it's cut, so I cut the round loaf in half and cut one of the halves into slices which go into a plastic freezer bag and get frozen to toast and eat as the week goes on.

Jim Lahey's No-Knead Bread, tweaked by me:

2 c unbleached flour
1 c whole wheat flour
1 1/2 t salt
1/2 t yeast
1 1/2 c water

Mix ingredients in large bowl. Stir till just combined - "dough" will be raggedy and maybe dry in some spots, wet in others, or look fine. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12-18 hours. The longer the better. Unwrap and dump onto floured surface. Fold dough over once or twice. Let sit 15 min, then shape into a simple ball. Place ball of dough on kitchen towel that has been dusted with wheat bran or flour. Sprinkle dough with more bran or flour, and cover with second towel. Let rise 2 hours. With 1/2 hr left to rise, put heavy pot or dutch oven uncovered in the oven. Heat to 450 degrees. When dough is ready, place seam-side up in very hot pot. Cover and bake for 30 min. Remove cover and bake for another 15-30 min. Remove dough to cool on wire rack.
*As tempting as it is, don't cut it before it's cool because the bread will dry out!!!

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