Another post about the no-knead bread. First a question – it seems the collective opinion is that the 6 to 8 quart covered pot called for in the recipe is too large, it allows the bread to spread out too far creating a flat loaf. I used a 4-quart casserole dish because it’s what I had, and the loaf was a good size. However, for the sake of my holiday wish list I’m wondering if the 3 1/2 Quart Oval Le Creuset French Oven would be a good size and shape. Has anybody used this particular pot, or even the similarly sized 3 1/2 Quart Round Le Creuset French Oven to make the bread? Was it large enough? My thanks, you lucky pot owner you.
And now, the recipe for posterity with the collective changes found on many message boards in general and in this post at Chow and this post at The Kitchen in particular. I’ve made three loaves total and I like the changes, which appear in [brackets]. And here is a printable version.
Appeared in the article The Secret of Great Bread: Let Time Do the Work by Mark Bittman in the November 8th, 2006 New York Times
Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1 1/2 hours plus 14 to 20 hoursâ€™ rising
– 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting [I used bread, also suggested is substituting 1 cup whole wheat flour*.]
– 1/4 teaspoon instant [aka Rapid Rise, QuickRise, Instant Active Dry, Perfect Rise, or Bread Machine Yeast] yeast
– 1 1/4 [1 3/4] teaspoons salt
– Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.
1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 [1 1/2] cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees. [I put it on top of my fridge.]
2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal [rice flour was suggested as it won't get gummy**]; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart [about a 4-quart pot is preferred] heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 [10 or 15] minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
Yield: One 1 1/2-pound loaf.
* I tried substituting 1 cup whole wheat white flour and did not prefer the flavor, I have not tried regular whole wheat flour yet.
** I’ve tried flour, cornmeal and wheat bran and prefer the wheat bran so far. Also, seriously overdo the generous coating of the towel, otherwise you risk the dough sticking to the towel during the next step.
update July 12th, 2007, Sharon (thanks Sharon!) emailed a tip that I thought was worth noting here: So it sticks to the towel, to parchment
paper, to my silicon mat, everything. But, I finally found something
that it doesn’t stick to – Reynolds wrap Release non stick foil. I
still have to basically pour the dough off the foil, but it rolls off
instead of glopping and stretching off.