Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Are you making it?

You should be. You know, the NYT bread that's taking the internets by storm (are you out there, internets? do you bake?). Mix up a sloppy dough and bake it in a pot 12-20 hours later? So. Freaking. Good. If I ever find the cord for my camera, I'll toss up some pictures.

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1.5 teaspoons salt (more than the original calls for, but you'll thank me)
1/2 c sourdough starter if you like
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 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.

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; 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 (or 500 or 515!) degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart 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 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

Start it way before you need it, obviously, but I think you'll be Very Happy. With the starter added, you can also cut the first rise time by several hours. And I never need to wait 2 hours for the second rise.

Also? Toss in half a cup of sourdough starter. Oh. My God.

I need to up my cornmeal quota (instead of the bran, though maybe that will work better) because I'm having some sticking-to-the-pot issues, but I'll work it out. Also? You can make dinner rolls with it!

No-Knead Dinner Rolls

This recipe is adapted from Jim Lahey/Sullivan Street Bakery’s recipe published in the New York Times on November 8, 2006

* 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting (I like Bob’s Red Mill white bread flour)

* ¼ teaspoon instant (“quick rise”) yeast

* 1¼ teaspoons salt

* Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed

In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 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.

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.

Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly gather dough into a manageable lump. Divide ball into 12 equal size pieces, approximately the size of a large plum. (An easy way to do this is to cut it in half, then half again; then cut each of those pieces into thirds.) Using your fingers, tuck each piece into a ball shape. Generously coat a Silpat baking mat or a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Be sure to space dough balls an inch or more apart so they don’t stick together as they rise. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When they are ready, rolls will have significantly increased in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

About a half hour before baking, preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Get a nonstick 12-cup muffin pan and use aluminum foil to make a tented lid that fits around the pan. The tenting part is important—if the foil doesn’t rise well above the pan, your rolls will stick to it as they rise. You may need to join two pieces of foil. Set the foil “lid” aside and put the pan in the oven so that it, too, preheats.

When dough is ready, remove muffin pan from oven and quickly drop one dough ball into each cup. Cover with foil lid—and if you’re feeling frisky, spray some water under there just before covering (increasing the humidity under the foil tent). Bake 15-20 minutes, then remove foil and bake another 15 minutes, until rolls are beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yields: 12 crusty, golden dinner rolls.


I'm all over these rolls tomorrow. I'm going to par-bake them and hang onto them for a group lunch I'm cooking for next month. Ought to freeze lovely-ly.

1 comment:

Devan said...

You must be quite the baker. I never make bread, even though fresh warm bread is beyond yummy. So much work. Maybe I'm just lazy...