Mark Bittman’s article about Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread came along just as I was considering making bread for the first time. So I made this bread and I suppose I’m spoiled for the rest of my life. It was so little work and the bread was so, well, awesome. The inside was chewy yet airy, and the crust was crunchy but not too tough (though Scott called it “dangerous and shardy”).
Here is the article, the recipe and the video which is reassuring to watch if you are as noob as I am, since I wouldn’t have quite believed there was so little word to do. Also the folding of the dough to form a ball is good to know about. Go there now, as I suspect it’s all about to disappear behind a pay wall.
I did manage to screw a few things up. The dough stuck to my kitchen towel after the second rise despite a serious layer of flour, and I could be found vigorously shaking sticky dough which would not come loose (those glutens, boy) off of my towel into a very hot casserole dish. Also, while I would have loved nothing more than to use this recipe as an excuse to get a 6 quart Le Creuset enameled cast iron dutch oven (I even would have been happy with the Mario Batali dutch oven… in persimmon), I settled for using my very old 4-quart Corningware casserole dish, which turned out to be big enough for the job. However, I think it might have been damaged by the 450-degree oven so it might never be the same.
There is something about this mostly hands off process that inspires one to take pictures, and here are mine:
update: The Kitchen has an excellent no-knead bread round up, including the changes some people are making. Looks like people might prefer using a smaller pot.
second addition: Chow follows up and includes some of the collective recipe changes.
See also: The Amateur Gourmet implores us to try this recipes for Nigel Slater’s “A Really Good and Very Easy White Loaf.”
You can read a little more about my bread making adventures here at Readymade.
I’d like to add that this bread is great dipped in a good olive oil as it gives me a chance to mention that the olive oil I bought earlier this year based on the pretty label just happened to be named one of the best tasting olive oils in a recent Cook’s Illustrated magazine. Pretty labels rule.