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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

No Knead Artisan Free Form Loaf / No Knead Crusty White Bread

 Many American restaurants offer a complimentary bread basket when lunch / dinner is ordered. In our area, it is mostly in the form of baguette / rolls and so I thought of trying a baguette with a make-shift pan for this week's 'complimentary starters' theme. Somehow the plan did not go accordingly and I chose to go with this no knead crusty loaf. I found this recipe on the all purpose flour packet, which in turn was inspired from the book 'Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day'. The idea behind this bread is that each loaf takes about 5 minutes of active preparation excluding the rising and baking periods. You prepare or rather mix the dough in bulk, refrigerate it and use it later when needed. When ready to bake, a portion of the dough is allowed to rise at room temperature for about an hour and then baked.  

As the title suggests, it is a no knead bread and very easy and quick to put together. It tastes amazing with soft chewy interior and a crisp crust. Flour, salt, yeast and water are the only ingredients needed to make this bread. The prepared dough is allowed to rise and then left in the refrigerator until ready to bake. You can dump everything into a bowl and just mix to combine using a wooden spoon if you are not looking forward for a cleanup job later. My dough was prepared in no time as I quartered the recipe for this loaf. The dough can be refrigerated anywhere from a couple of hours to couple of weeks. It can be shaped round or in form of a loaf . 
 Ingredients: (Yields 3 or 4 loaves)
3 cups lukewarm water
1 tbsp. rapid rise / active dry yeast
1 tbsp. salt
6 & 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour (measured by 'scoop and sweep' method)
Cornmeal / parchment paper for the pizza peel or baking sheet

Preparing the bread dough:
* Mix yeast, water and salt. Add all the flour and mix until uniformly moist, using a wooden spoon or a stand mixer. The dough is going to be sticky and loose. Transfer the dough to a bowl and cover it with a lid or a plastic wrap and allow it to rise for about 2 hours at room temperature. 
(If preparing the dough using the above proportions, use a 5 quart container or bowl to mix and store the dough. The dough is going to double or rise some more. And so use a container accordingly to store the dough.)
* Refrigerate the dough for at least three hours. (It would be easier to work with the dough if refrigerated.)
* The dough can be shaped and baked the same day it's mixed or can be left in a lidded container (not air-tight) or a loosely covered bowl for up to 14 days. The longer the dough sits in the refrigerator, the tangier it gets.
(I prepared the dough in the evening and didn't take any pictures.)

Preparation for baking:
* When ready to bake the bread, keep the work surface floured.
* Sprinkle some flour over the surface of the bread dough. This makes it easier to grab a chunk of the dough. Cut off about 1 pound piece or 1/4 to 1/3rd portion (or about a grape fruit size) of the dough. Alternately you can grease your palms and pull out the required piece of dough. Cover the remaining dough and refrigerate again, to use it later.
* Plop the sticky dough onto the floured work surface and shape it it into a smooth ball or a log. There is no need to fuss about shaping it perfectly. Slight imperfection is ok since it is going to look rustic anyway.

* Prepare a pizza peel with cornmeal or parchment, if using . Place the shaped dough on it (if a baking stone is going to be used) or onto a greased / parchment lined baking sheet. Sift a light coating of flour over the top. (It is to keep the dough moist during the resting period before baking.) 
* Allow the dough to rise for about 60 minutes. (There is no need to cover the dough at this point but I covered it anyway with a thin cotton towel.) The dough may not rise much during this time but may expand. 

* At the final stages of rising, preheat the oven (and baking stone if using) to 450 deg F. Place a metal broiler pan / shallow metal pan or a cast iron pan on the lowest oven rack. Keep a cup of hot water ready.
* Slash the bread crosswise at 2 -3 places with a sharp knife, about 1/2 inch deep. 

* Place the bread in the oven, carefully pour the hot water into the shallow pan on the rack beneath and close the oven door quickly.
* Bake the bread until it develops a golden brown crust, about 25 - 35 minutes.
* Remove the bread and allow it cool completely. Store the leftover bread in a plastic bag at room temperature.

Check here to see what other marathoners are cooking during BM #49.



vaishali sabnani said...

Wow suma the bread has a beautiful texture. .so well made.It looks really fantastic.

Sandhya Ramakrishnan said...

This is an awesome recipe and love the loaf when baked with steam. It gives such a crispy exterior and soft interior. The loaf looks awesome and love the texture of the bread.

Priya Srinivasan said...

Awesome suma, i too have this in my bookmark! With the basic dough ready and resting in the fridge, all we need is to shape and bake!!! Love it totally!!! Perfect crust and perfectly hole-y!!!!

Srivalli said...

Such a beautiful bread you got there Suma..would surely bookmark!

Harini-Jaya R said...

Love the porous look of the bread. Shall bake it sometime.

Sapana Behl said...

Wow ,such a beautiful bread you have got. Soft inside and crusty outside.Bookmarked.

Srividhya said...

awesome. So soft and yummy. Love the texture

Priya Suresh said...

Wow this bread rocks Suma, that too no knead bread..

Varadas Kitchen said...

Lovely loaf and awesome texture.

sneha datar said...

Love the texture of the bread, perfect.

Maha Gadde said...

Super healthy bread, nice idea Dear

Pavani N said...

That bread looks just perfect -- great crumb and crispy crust.

Archana Potdar said...

Perfect crumb Suma. Bookmaking it.