Friday, July 27, 2012

No-Knead Crusty Bread

This is it folks. The easiest, simple, tasty, crusty bread you will ever make. It takes some planning out and time to develop this greatness, but the actual hands-on time is very minimal. I urge you to try it out real soon!

Into a large bowl go:
345 grams cool water
250 grams whole wheat flour
150 grams unbleached all-purpose or bread flour
8 grams salt
2 grams instant yeast

Simply combine with a large wooden spoon until you have a wet sticky shaggy dough. Cover this and let sit at room temperature overnight for 12-18 hours. 

Due to the above average room temperature in my humble abode my dough is looking quite nice after only 10 hours. You want to see obvious bubbles on the surface and it should be doubled in size.

Next you will heavily flour a work surface and dump your dough out onto it. Using a bench scraper stretch the one end out at a time and fold onto the dough. Repeat with each of the four sides. This is called folding the dough. I let mine sit for about 30 minutes and then come back for the final shaping. Remember this is a wet dough but you don't want to add too much flour so that you get chunks of it inside the dough.

For the final shaping, I folded it again and then rounded the loaf. Place a tea towel into a bowl and sprinkle with corn meal. Place rounded dough into bowl seam side up. Allow to rise for an additional 1-2 hours. When second rise is complete it will be near doubled again. When lightly pressing fingers into the side of the loaf it should hold an impression. If it springs back it needs more rise time. 

This bread can be baked most optimally in a cast-iron dutch oven type heavy pot with a lid. However, I do not have one of those so it is also okay to use a regular bakers stone in your oven. Make sure you pre-heat whatever baking apparatus you plan to use in the 450 degree oven for 30 minutes. We want it to be nice and hot for the dough.When the final rise is complete, gently turn out the dough onto the stone or into the dutch oven that are sprinkled with more corn meal. 

If using a dutch oven with a lid put the lid on and bake for 30 minutes. The lid will trap the steam from the loaf inside and assist in the crusty crust formation. After 30 minutes remove the lid and continue baking for an additional 10-20 minutes lowering the temperature to 425 until it is deep brown color, but not burnt.

If using a stone add steam to your oven by spraying a squirt bottle of water into the oven to create steam. Bake 30 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 425 and bake an additional 10-20 minutes until a deep brown color is achieved.

When complete carefully remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Today I think I over-proofed my dough by getting distracted so it was a little more flat than I would typically desire. However, after properly cooling and cutting into the bread, beauty is found.

A little slice of heaven. This is the reason I could never truly go gluten-free.

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