Friday, July 29, 2011

Culinary Dream Team- Chuck's No Knead Bread

When famed food writer, Mark Bittman, posted a "No-knead bread" recipe for his "The Minimalist" section in The New York Times back in 2006, the simple bread recipe took the foodie world by storm. (the original article can be found here: The NY Times).

Various incarnations soon followed. Here is one that I've slightly adapted from chef Chuck Hughes version...I love that it takes less time (most of the no-knead recipes took 12 hours to rise)...his method reduced it to less than 1 hour. In one morning, two loaves of bread can be made. (although another time can mix the dough before you go to sleep, and in the morning, just put in the oven to bake).

It's difficult for me to buy bread now that something so simple, easy and delicious can be done without machines and in one morning...oh yes, it can be done!

No Knead Bread
(Chuck Hughes recipe here)


   3 cups very warm but not hot water
   1 tablespoon dry active yeast (or just under two- 8 gram packages)
   1 tablespoon sugar
   1 tablespoon vegetable oil
   1 tablespoon vinegar
   3 cups white flour
   2 ½ cup – 3 cup Whole Wheat Flour 
   1 tablespoon coarse salt
   A sprinkle of raw sugar (for sweet bread—I used brown sugar and cinnamon)
   A sprinkle of steak spice (for savory bread- I used rosemary & hint of salt)
1.Mix together in your large bread making bowl and allow to bubble up and foam: The yeast, sugar and water. Wait a few minutes till yeast starts to work then add vinegar and oil

2. Add the white flour cup by cup stirring well after each addition. Then add the whole wheat flour mixing in the salt at one point, cup by cup stirring well after each addition. This dough will still be a little bit wet and spongy.

3. Cover with a damp tea towel and let rise in a warm place for 30 – 40 minutes or until it has doubled in size. 

4. Using a big spatula (I used a pastry cutter), spoon out into 2 well-greased loaf pans. I used one stone loaf pan for the sweet bread, and an enamelled Dutch oven for the savory one.  Using your fingers if needed, press the sides down, helping to create the perfect loaf shape. (do not knead)

5. With a knife make 2 or 3 diagonal shallow incisions in the loaves.

6. Top with your favourite herbs or spices for the savoury loaf, and the sweet sugar for the sweet loaf. I used brown sugar and cinnamon for the sweet loaf, and salt with Rosemary grown from my garden.

7. Bake the loaves about 50 minutes @ 375 degrees F or until they are golden brown and crusty on top and sound hollow when tapped on the underside.

Let sit if you can wait, for at least 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving. I like to serve the sweet bread with butter or jam, and the savoury one dipped in a balsamic vinegar/olive oil mixture (like they do in Italian restaurants).

Mmm...the house smells so good....

Simply Beautiful Now

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