I’ve noticed that many soap makers, including myself, also enjoy cooking and baking. I will confess though that these days I think more about soap than I do about food.
More than 3 years ago, I got hooked on making bread. It all started when I stumbled upon this NY Times recipe, which, at that time, I found revolutionary. After I made my first loaf, a new passion was born. I became really serious about it and even made my own starter from scratch, and went on to making bread the traditional way. For more than a year, I baked bread almost everyday, but I eventually stopped because my family and I felt we were eating way too much carbs.
Ever since Natalia casually mentioned here about her new obsession for homemade bread, I started to miss it. I finally got around to making it again when my French friend stayed with us last month. She loved it and had it for breakfast everyday. Even though she’s not really into baking, it looks like this no-knead technique is going to change all that.
Most of you are probably proficient bakers already, but for those who are daunted by the idea of making bread, or who are very busy, or simply lazy, I encourage you to try this. It won’t take much of your time, and I guarantee you’ll be so pleased with yourself and grinning from ear to ear after you see this artisan-looking bread coming out of your oven.
I’ve made many variations but my favourites are the ones with muesli and chia seeds.
One day I will learn how to take videos, but for now, I’m only limited to pictures. Luckily, there are plenty of Youtube videos on how to make no-knead bread. Click here to see the one by cookbook author and NY Times journalist, Mark Bittman.
I’ve tweaked the original recipe and I’ve also increased it by 50%. One loaf is good for 4 to 5 persons.
NO KNEAD BREAD RECIPE
450 grams water
12 grams salt
scant 1/2 tsp instant dried yeast
600 grams bread flour
75 grams muesli + 75 grams water
25 grams chia seeds + 75 grams water
1. In a large bowl or container (allow space for the dough to triple in size), pour in the water and dissolve the salt in it.
2. Add and dissolve the yeast ( to avoid killing the yeast, never put salt and yeast in direct contact with each other )
3. If you’re making plain bread, skip this and go to the next step. If you’re adding muesli or chia seeds, add it now into the water mixture, including the additional water. Stir and let it sit for about 5 minutes to allow it to absorb water.
4. Add the bread flour into the water mixture and mix with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula just until there’s no more trace of dry flour. If you wish, you can finish mixing with your hand.
5. Cover the bowl or container. Let it sit at room temperature for 12-18 hours, but I usually just let it sit for 8-12 hours.
6. When the dough is ready (it would have tripled in volume and have big holes), place a large cast iron dutch oven with its lid on in the oven (If the knob is not metal, wrap it with aluminum foil). Crank up your oven to its highest setting, usually 500˚F or 250˚C.
7. While the oven is pre-heating, place a sheet of baking paper on one side of the table. Sprinkle flour over it.
8. Oil your hands and work surface with olive oil. Dump the dough on the oiled surface. Stretch 2 opposite sides of the dough and fold in towards the center. Turn the dough 45˚ and do the same for the other ends. Turn over the dough and transfer to the floured paper. Cover with a large inverted bowl.
9. When the oven has reached the right temperature, carefully remove the hot dutch oven. Remove the lid. Holding on to the paper, transfer the dough into the dutch oven. Cover and return to the oven.
10. Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on. Remove the lid, lower the temperature to 200˚C or 400˚F, and continue to bake for another 15-20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
For better understanding, the water is 75% of the flour weight, and salt at 2%. I find that the higher water percentage of the original recipe is a bit too gummy for my taste. When adding muesli/oats or chia seeds, extra water is needed to compensate for their absorbent nature.
If you don’t own a cast iron pot, no worries! Place the dough on a regular baking sheet and liberally spray the surface of the dough with water before it goes into the oven. After 10-15 minutes, making sure you are wearing oven mitts because the steam can burn, spray the dough again in the oven. The water will help keep the crust thin and crisp.
Warning: making no-knead bread can start a new addiction!
Happy baking! 🙂