Friday, January 16, 2009

A Word or two about Bread

Faithful readers will attest that I have been making bread using the No-Knead method for some time. It is easy, if slow, and makes a great rustic loaf. Recently, like three days ago when I lost all my Helpful Stuff links, I had to go back and find the recipe and video and repost them in the sidebar. While on that quest I discovered another article by Mark Bittman which referred to a Faster No-Knead recipe. I was intrigued.
The original recipe called for preheating the cooking pot in the 500° oven til it is piping hot BEFORE placing the bread dough in it. I never really liked that part, because one has to be careful not to burn oneself on the very hot pot as one puts in the dough, plus my smoke alarm is way sensitive and it goes off whenever I open my oven door.
The new FASTER method has the bread doing its second rise in the room temperature cooking pot and going into a cold oven and then being brought up to temp to bake it off.
That's like a whole big step I can avoid.
Why not try it?

So here's the result. Strange shapes yes. But the crust is wonderful and the interior is still fabulous and the taste is exactly the same.
Nice crumb. I should have waited till it was cool to cut this but it was already 11pm when the bread was done baking, and I couldn't stay awake much longer.
The cooking pot is prepared with a little vegetable oil, sprinkling in some Kosher salt and Sesame seeds, the dough goes in and is topped with more salt and seeds and covered with the pot lid. I let the dough rise for several more hours while I watched all my shows and then at 10pm I started the oven with the pots inside already. After an hour which included warming up to the proper temp (450° really, not 500° ) I removed the lids to let the loaves brown, another 15 minutes. Simply wonderful!


  1. In all your posts of no-knead bread, I've never been inspired to try it myself. Until now.

    It looks fantastic. Plus, I love Mark Bittman. I also love sesame seeds.

  2. That is just too weird! I was thinking of baking bread yesterday and clicked on your link for no-knead bread. I read the faster no-knead recipe and comments from other people that tried it and decided to give it a try. It turned out wonderful! I usually use my bread machine but wanted something more "rustic" and a nice crust to go with a hearty soup I had made. I'll be making this a lot! Thanks for the link!

  3. Anonymous12:14 PM

    Unlike you, I love to knead bread. I like the upper body and upper arms workout that I get from it. I have an island in my kitchen with a granite top just for kneading, though it serves more for placing stuff like fruit bowls etc.

    I knead out my frustrations, anger, name it....into my dough, beating the heck out of it. Then when it's done we all sit and eat it.......LOL.......

  4. Anonymous12:17 PM

    Forgot to add that you can place your bread dough to rise in the refrigerator overnight.......yes, it works!

    When I want a quick bread....for soup maybe, I place it in a barely warm oven to rise for an hour or so, then turn up the temperature and finish baking. It works well but I prefer the old fashion rising twice or thrice.

  5. It looks like it is a wonderful texture.

  6. THAT"S what I want for breakfast...

  7. Thanks Melody! I will be a better cook thanks to you and bread is resting as I write. I love your writing - fun and light-hearted!

  8. Sharlene9:29 AM

    Please tell us about the cooking pot. And, did you share the recipe?
    I'm so wanting to do this with our very cold Minnesota.

  9. For a year or so I baked my own bread because I wanted to reduce salt. I did it in a similar way but used 100% wholemeal wheat flour. This kind is hard to get in our shops. We have all kinds of dark rye bread.
    I remember holidays in Finland 1964. We lived in a farmhouse with an oven that was big enough to sleep on, and in very cold winters, they did. The farmer and his wife had 5 or 6 children, most of them grown up. We were 5, so there were about 12 or 13 people in the house. The housewife baked bread twice a week; she made 8 loafs on tuesday and 8 loafs on saturday plus 4-5 loafs white bread with cardamon seed, braided like a hair plait. The first loaf disappeared hot with the butter melting on the slices, when the grown up sons were in the house.


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