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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Knead-No- Brain Bread Versus Trendy No-Knead-Bread

No-brain,what's up with that?

Well, someone asked for my bread recipe, so it's time to share.

First a couple of things, one short comment and one small "breaditorial";

Comment: The recipe might not work out great the first time you try it. Bread making is a skill that quickly improves with practice.

Like most hand made small batch bread,what I have is more of a methodology than a recipe. The clearest directions I can produce aren't very precise. Because I make this every week when the weather isn't too hot (about 6 mos of the year here) my hands have learned what to do without that much help from the brain.

Breaditorial: No-knead bread has become a craze. I don't like it because no-knead recipes produce a loaf with an uneven and sometimes doughy texture inside. I admit the crust is nice and its good with soup.

If you want a bread with an even texture that will meet all your bread needs for the week, you need to knead it.

Here's a good photo of the no-knead bread that is the rage:

Note the very nice crusty and the uneven and doughy texture.

Here' s what you'll get using my method:

You need this tight and uniform texture so that the bread will keep well and be good for a sandwich five days after baking. I can do this from start to finish in the time of one NFL game.

Here's everything you need to know (or, was the Knead to no?)

These directions are very specific. I tried to make this goof proof. It isn't as hard as it looks.

Knead No-Brain Bread

Before you begin:

Buy one five pound sack each of bread flour and whole wheat flour.Mix together in a big bug-proof container. Buy either Red Star or Fleischman's Quick Rising Yeast. It's a lot cheaper by the jar than by the paper envelope.

Prepare the dough:

Note: this step before the risings will takes 2o to 30 minutes.

Put a large teakettle full of water on the range to boil.

Clean the kitchen before you start. Trust me, it'll be easier in the end.

Find a clean and dry surface to work the dough. I use a Tupperware pastry sheet.

Put a shallow roasting pan on the oven's bottom.

Get out everything you'll need:
measuring spoons
large mixing bowl
Large, sturdy mixing spoon
scraper or sturdy spatula
Dry 1 cup measure
2 cup measuring cup (metric helps)
Two buttered bread pans (like these)
Wire drying rack

By the time you've gathered all this stuff,the water should be boiling.
Pour 1 1/8 cup (about 275 ml) boiling water in the bowl.
Add 1 tbsp sugar and 1 tbsp salt, stir to dissolve.
Pour 1 1/8 cup (about 275 ml) cold water in the bowl.
Stir in about 1/4 cup flour.
Add 2 1/4 tsps or 1 envelope Quick Rising Yeast.
Add four cups flour and stir into a batter.
Add flour one cup at a time and stir, until the dough is firm enough to knead.
Knead in the bowl, adding more flour,and knead on your clean surface.
Knead for 5 minutes, and make sure there's enough flour on the kneading surface.

Once the dough is needed, return to the bowl, put bowl in oven to rise. Pour the remaining boiling water in the roasting pan to keep warm damp environment for yeast.

Let rise for 45 minutes.

Gently Punch dough down,replace water in roasting pan with more boiling water, and rise for another 45 minutes.

Remove dough and punch down again.
Divide into two pieces (I use a scale to check).
form two loaves, place in buttered pans,and rise in oven for 30 minutes.

Leave the loaves in the oven, but remove the roasting pan.
turn oven heat to 415 degrees f.

Remove bread after 45 minutes.
Turn out of pans onto wire cooling rack.

Let cool for at least 20 minutes.

Trust me, it's good.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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