Delicious Bread Anytime

King Arthur Flour — an awesome company that makes excellent products — has the single best explanation of no knead bread I’ve found. Seriously. Go read that. Make it. Then get the book I mentioned below to expand beyond the basic loaf.


5MinuteBread2.JPG

Not long ago, I took on bread making and have had great success.


However, I don’t make bread that often because, by the time I decide I want some with dinner, it is typically too late to actually make it in time!

A friend had raved about a bread recipe that involved no kneading and keeping the dough in the fridge for use anytime, claiming the result was fantastic bread with less than 2 hours from fridge to table.

In particular, he recommended the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. With access to Crackazon Prime on my iPhone, I ordered the book.

And damned if it doesn’t work. At left is the first loaf I made using this technique. In the toaster oven, even.

The base recipe basically involves mixing — but not kneading or working — a dough from a base ratio of water, flour, salt, and yeast. This then goes into the refrigerator (I’m using a six quart Cambro food container
) for at least a day, and will keep for up to 2 weeks. As it ages, it will apparently take on more of a sour dough flavor.

When you want bread, you dust the top with flour, rip off a hunk of dough, let it rise on your pizza peel for ~40 minutes, and then bake it at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.

End result? A delicious bread with a crunchy crust, excellent texture, and great flavor.

The introduction to the book is a bit smarmy, what with the claim of a “revolution in baking, blah, blah, blah”, but the rest of the book is awesome. The first couple of chapters discuss ingredients and tools quite clearly while the next chapter lays out the base recipe.

From there, the rest of the chapters are full of all kinds of other bread and bread-like recipes.

Annoyingly, the recipes are all in “cups” and “tablespoons”, not weights or ratios.

So, if you do get the book, the base recipe is 708 grams water, 12 grams yeast, 25 grams salt, and 812 grams flour. Yes — it is supposed to be considerably wetter than a “normal” bread dough.





Some random notes as I gain experience.

Flavor

The flavor really does change over time. By the end of a week in the refrigerator, the dough had taken on a distinct sour dough flavor and essence, including generating those signature big air pockets.

Baking

The dough does really well baked on a stone. I haven’t gotten down baking in a dutch oven yet; I think the dough is too wet to really do well, or even need, such a baking style.

I’m also going to try baking on a cast iron fry pan turned upside down. I bet the heavy heat mass of the iron will act similar to a stone.

Pizza

The dough makes awesome pizza. I’ve now made several pizzas on the non-stick pizza pan that came with my toaster oven.

The trick with pizza seems to be to pull off a hunk and roll it out on a heavily floured surface, adding flour to any wet spots as you roll it. Put it immediately on the pan, drizzle with just a touch of olive oil, put whatever toppings on that you want, and back for ~15 minutes in a 450 degree oven.

Bread in the toaster oven has been good, but you need to bake for ~40% longer than the recipe says.



9 Responses to “Delicious Bread Anytime”

  1. Scott Thompson says:

    I can also recommend the book “Artisan Breads Every Day” by Peter Reinhart. Many of these slow-ferment “no knead” bread recipes (like the one you describe) appear to be descendants of Peter’s his research (described in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice and this new book). The result on this end is a recipe Peter calls “Pain a l’Anciennne”. That recipe sounds remarkably similar to the one you describe though I suspect that Reinhart’s dough is more strongly hydrated (you couldn’t really “tear a hunk” off of it… more like “dip a hunk” out of it).

  2. Jeffrey J Hoover says:

    Have you baked any in your BGE?

  3. bbum says:

    @scott I might increase the water content, then, because “tearing a hunk off” is a bit of a pain. Once dipped, I suspect I could work in some additional flour to bring it up to baking consistency without adverse impact. Something to think about 6 months down the road….

    @Jeff I’ve baked a couple of things, but haven’t been happy with it. At the moment, my plate setter is too steeped in pig fat to be useful as a baking surface. My biggest issue seems to be one of temperature control and not burning the bottom of everything.

  4. annbb says:

    Think it would make good pizza/naan if stretched?
    I just might have to order that book and container, and yes,
    I’ll come back here to do that!
    xoyerbigsis

  5. Care says:

    But I cook in cups and tablespoons. Want to try it!!!!!!!!!!

  6. bjh says:

    For convenience, here’s the recipe converted to baker’s percentages

    Flour: 100%
    Water: 87.19%
    Yeast: 1.48%
    Salt: 3.08%

    Those are straight out of the calculator and can certainly be rounded and fudged to make it a bit wetter or a bit firmer or whatever you want; I have also liked 5% or so of olive oil in many of my breads.

    I’ve had great success baking in my Weber kettle, breads and pizzas on a pizza stone and dinner rolls in a buttered cast iron skillet over very indirect heat – no or very few coals underneath (can’t really do that bit in the BGE)

  7. bbum says:

    @Anbb — It does make wonderful pizzas / naan. There are specific recipes in the book for that, but I’m finding the basic dough — the mother recipe — to make perfectly delicious pizzas! Thin & crispy. The trick seems to be to throw down a boatload of flour on the counter, flatten your dough ball out a bit by hand, then flip and roll, flip and roll, making sure any wet spots are immediately covered in flour.

    A light layer of tomato sauce, some cheese of your choice, and whatever else you might want on top. Then, into a 450 degree oven for ~12-15 minutes (watch that crust!) and an excellent pizza is the result!

    @Care — the book has cups & tablespoons, if you want. :) It even tells you how to measure a “cup” of flour so that it is the “cup” of flour they mean.

  8. John C. Randolph says:

    I’ve gotten in the habit of buying frozen loaves from the supermarket. You just coat them with oil, put them in a bread pan to thaw and rise, then into the oven for about 25 minutes.

    -jcr

  9. Bill Coderre says:

    Is there a recipe for whole wheat bread in the book?

    Fiber is where it’s at!

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