Bread

Matt's No-Knead Bread

 

Using a heavy, covered pan for baking creates a mini-oven inside your oven, trapping precious heat and steam inside. The result is a loaf that's crusty on the outside, with a soft-chewy crumb on the inside.

 

You'll Need:

 

  • 375g all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting

  • 1/4 tsp instant yeast

  • 1 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1 5/8 cups water

  • Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed

 

 

Let's go:

 

  1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add the water and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap.

  2. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70°F. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles.

  3. 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.

  4. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to your work surface or your fingers, gently and quickly shape the 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.

  5. 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.

  6. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 °F. 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 okay.

  7. 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 15-30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned.

  8. Cool on a rack.

 

Pro Tip:

 

  • Once you feel comfortable with this basic recipe, try experimenting with mixing in extra ingredients during Step 4

  • Ex. pancetta, olives, rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, dried cranberries, even mashed potatoes!

  • If you add extra ingredients that have some water content (ie. mashed potatoes), add a tiny bit less water to your dough. 

 

 

 

Yannick's No-Knead Bread

 

This recipe is straightforward and versatile, and can easily be scaled up by using the percentages (%) listed for each ingredient.

 

The main principle about the baking part and the dish used is that while baking, water is released from the bread and trapped in the pot which helps crust expansion and colouring. In commercial ovens, steam is injected to achieve that.

To get a good crust, you eventually have to let the steam out by removing the lid.

 

If you're a visual learner and want to see how to handle the dough, this bread video is helpful and good for a laugh!

 

You'll Need:

 

  • 500g all purpose flour / 100%

  • 1 1/2 cups water / 70%

  • 2 teaspoons salt / 2%  

  • 1/4 tsp instant dry yeast

 

This basic dough will produce a mild-flavoured bread with a pleasant, yeasty taste.
 

Let's go:

 

  1. In a bowl, mix flour, salt, yeast, and water to form the dough. Scrape dough away from the sides of the bowl to keep it from drying out. (Example start time: 6:00 am)

  2. Cover the bowl and leave it to rest in a place where it won't be disturbed.

  3. After 10 hours, shape the dough. Sprinkle flour on top of the dough, and on a flat surface. Gently scrape the dough out of the bowl onto the floured surface, and shape the dough into a loaf by folding it in on itself several times, until it forms a firm ball. It should not tear at the sides; this is a sign of working the dough too much. (Example time: 4:00 pm)

  4. Line a bowl with a smooth cotton towel, and sprinkle it with flour. Place the dough in the bowl, smooth side down. Sprinkle with flour and cover with the towel ends.

  5. After 2.5 hours, begin baking. Tip the dough out of the bowl into a heavy pot. Score the dough with a knife (this will to allow steam to escape), and cover tightly with the lid to seal in the steam. (Example time: 6:30 pm)

  6. Bake at 450°F for 30 minutes with the lid on. Remove the lid and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the loaf from the pot and finish baking for 10 minutes, for a crusty bread.

 

Pro Tip:

 

  • Room temperature water works well for the breads (the colder the longer it will take to ferment, and the warmer the faster)

  • Use an enameled cast iron pot or a regular cast iron pot with a lid

  • Getting the caramelization of the crumb is key for a good taste

 

 

Variations:

 

Recipe with Bread Crumbs

 

  • 212g all purpose flour / 85%

  • 38g bread crumbs / 15%

  • 3/4 cup water / 72%

  • 1 teaspoon salt / 2% 

  • pinch active dry yeast

 

The flavour of this bread has a lot to do with the breadcrumbs (I used a sourdough for the crumbs and toasted the slices beforehand for extra flavour). The crumb will be a bit more dense.

 

Recipe with 'old dough'

 

  • 250g all purpose flour / 100%

  • 38g old dough, cut into pieces / 15%

  • 3/4 cup water / 70%

  • 1 teaspoon salt / 2% 

  • pinch active dry yeast

 

The old dough (also called a "chef") is not the same thing as a sourdough which demands a bit extra work and care.

But it is an easy and excellent way to increase the keeping quality and taste of the bread. It achieves in a "natural" way what some bakeries will do by adding additives and chemicals to their dough.

 

The flavour really depends on how long the old dough has been sitting in the fridge, but the longer the stronger (maybe even something like a mild sourdough). 2 days in the fridge is about the maximum time to keep the old dough in the fridge.