Friday, April 27, 2012
At long last: Almost no-knead bread
I've been reading about no-knead bread for a few years, but as someone who was so enamored with all the intricacies of bread baking that she read the first 100 pages of The Bread Baker's Apprentice like a novel not once, but twice, I wasn't that excited by the idea of a bread that essentially makes itself.
But here we are, a couple of years and two bread book challenges later, and sometimes life is just busy: I needed a bread I could make in a flash to go with our cauliflower soup. Happily, browsing my friends' Pinterest bread collections (yes, I've finally been sucked into that time black hole), I found a link to America's Test Kitchen's newest version of their almost no-knead bread, a recipe I've been meaning to make for so long but that always gets lost in the stack of new recipes.
I made a half-recipe, mixing up the all-purpose flour, salt, a pinch of yeast, water, and a bit of beer. The last ingredient is vinegar, but I'd read that the purpose of the vinegar is to give it a hint of sourdough flavor, so I used my discard from a sourdough feed instead. The ingredients are barely mixed and then left at room temperature for 16ish hours. After school, I rushed home and shaped my little boule and left it in a warm spot in my 6" cake pan. Once it had risen, I baked it in my new small enameled Dutch oven for 25 minutes uncovered and about 10 or 15 minutes uncovered.
The bread was perfect with the soup; in fact (surprisingly) hubby said it was the best bread I'd made in a long time. Who knew?! (Oh, and there was definite hint of sourdough flavor in there: from the sourdough starter? I don't know, but I think Austin is finally ready for a test drive this weekend!!)