Tuesday, March 19, 2013

No Knead Crusty Bread -



Crusty Homemade Bread
 
 
I would say that the single recipe that most revolutionized my cooking style and changed what I put out for my family to eat was this recipe.  When I'm squeaking out the last days of meals until payday, I can count on this dough to get me through.  It uses simple and few ingredients - flour, salt, yeast, and water.  That's it!  And yet with that simple batch of dough, stirred up with a wooden spoon in a large bowl in a matter of seconds (I estimate about 30 seconds), my options for breakfasts, lunches, and suppers, increases many times.  I first found the instructions and recipe for this dough at the website for Mother Earth News HERE.  This recipe comes from a terrific book called ARTISAN BREAD IN 5 MINUTES A DAY by Jeff Hertsberg and Zoe Francois.  (They also have a terrific blog where they answer questions, post recipes, etc. HERE.)  
 
Breakfasts:  From one bowl of this simple, frugal dough I make breakfasts like:
 
 
 
 
 
I make breakfast hot pocket sandwiches using eggs, cheese, meats, or fruits like apples, peaches, berries, even peanut butter, etc.  These freeze wonderfully and we thaw/warm them wrapped in a paper towel in the microwave.
 
Lunches:  For lunches from this dough, I make:
 
 
 
 
or pockets filled with lunch meats w/ cheese, vegetables & cheese, or even peanut butter & jelly
 
or
 
 
 
 

 
 

You could even roll up some pigs in a blanket (hot dogs wrapped in dough) for a great, fast lunch.
 
 
Any of these lunches would be great for suppers but the dough makes great crusty bread or small fry breads (patties of dough fried in a little butter/margarine) to serve with soup, salads, or pasta, etc.  You could even make little bread bowls for soup with this dough!
 
But the loaves of bread?  The bread is to die for!  It's delicious slathered warm with butter but also makes great sandwiches.Your options are endless with a little flour, salt, water & yeast!
 
This is how I make Bread in 5 Minutes - AT HOME MY WAY:
 
No-Knead Dough
(This dough can be stored in the fridge for about 10 days.  Just sprinkle the dough with flour before taking some out of the bowl.)

  • 3 cups very warm water (NOT luke warm) (think “hot but no hurt” - like hot bath water)
  • 2 teaspoons or 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 6 ½ cups all purpose flour (fluff your flour first so that it's not compacted from the bag)
  • 1 Tablespoon salt (the authors recommend 1 1/2 Tablespoon but they use "kosher" salt and I use table salt so I find that 1 Tablespoon of salt is just perfect!)

Instructions:
 
Measure 3 cups of very warm water(should feel hot to your hand but you can hold your hand under there without wanting to remove it - I say like hot bath water). Gently stir in the yeast until mostly all dissolved. Let it sit while you measure the flour and salt.

In a very large mixing bowl put the 6 ½ cups of all purpose  flour. Add 1 Tablespoon salt and stir well to combine.

Let the water/yeast sit for about 5 minutes so that it becomes bubbly and frothy.

Pour into the bowl of flour/salt mixture. Stir (a wooden spoon works great) as much as you can. It will be very shaggy. Just stir as much as you can, pushing the dough over on itself with the spoon to incorporate all together. It will not be a ball or anything, just a big bowl of shaggy dough. Cover with plastic wrap (I use a plastic grocery bag) and let sit on the counter 2 hours (if you will be home).  If you are scatting out the door like I usually am, just cover the dough with the plastic wrap / plastic bag and stick the bowl of dough in the fridge.  If it can sit in there all day, it does not need to rise on the counter for the 2 hours mentioned previously but if you do let it rise 2 hours, then you definitely have to put it in the fridge to get COLD before you can handle it.)  After the 2 hours on the counter + time in the fridge (or the full day in the fridge with no time on the counter), the dough will have risen and flattened to pretty much fill the bowl. 
 
 
You need the dough to be risen and then COLD to be able to properly handle it. 
 
Any time you remove dough from the bowl, sprinkle it first with flour.   Just a good sprinkle. This feeds the yeast and also keeps it from sticking to you.

To make the Round Loaf above:

1.  Sprinkle the cold bowl of dough with about 1/4 cup flour.

2.  Remove a hunk of dough about the size of a grapefruit.  I usually try to take about 1/4 of the bowl of dough.  Cover the bowl of remaining dough and continue to refrigerate for storing up to 10 days.  (On the 10th day, I tend to just make pizza as it will have lost some of its oomph, but still makes terrific hot pockets or pizza.)

3.  Form the dough into a ball by stretching the top over and underneath (think a mushroom top - going over and underneath, tucking the dough edges underneath the ball.  Don't squish the ball, just try to make the dough round.
 
4.  Let the dough ball rest on a floured plate while preheating your oven (which is REQUIRED)!
 
5.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  If using a stone, place the stone in the cold oven to preheat with the oven.
 
6.  Let the dough ball rest - coming up to room temp - for about 20-30 minutes before baking.
 
7.  Slash cuts in the dough - 3 or 4 of them - about 1/2 inch deep.  Just like stripes about 1 1/2 inch apart on the surface of the dough ball.
 
8.  Place the dough in a hot oven on a baking stone (or on a cookie sheet sprayed and dusted with cornmeal.)
 
9.  Bake a full 30 minutes or until dough is browning nicely.
 
10.  Let cool for about 10 or 15 minutes before slicing.  As with all breads, an electric knife works best for slicing the bread.
 
MMmmmmmm!
 
*This bowl of dough makes about  four 1 pound loaves of bread or any combination of the other items listed here.
 
 
 
 
 

 
Enjoy!
 
Gina

 

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