Sunday, April 4, 2010


I started a no knead bread yesterday morning and baked it this morning using a recipe from a cookbook by Nancy Baggett .  The cookbook is called Kneadlessly Simple and is all about no-knead breads.  I don’t have her cookbook yet and found this recipe on her website:

The recipe is different than the one I have posted in an earlier blog.  It uses more flour, therefore it is a larger loaf and it also calls for beer.  I used a 12 oz can of pale ale.  The bread that I made is outstanding.  I think it is one of the best loaves I have made.  It has a great crust, the inside is pale, a few holes in the dough, it has a wonderful texture and taste.  Before baking it I sprinkled sesame seeds on it and while I love toasted sesame seeds they do scatter all over the counter when you are slicing the bread.  As I have a convection oven, I reduced the cooking time.  I also kept everything in the same bowl after mixing everything together and let it rise in the large plastic bowl that I use for no knead breads.  After covering the bowl with plastic wrap I then cover it with a dish towel.  I used my red Emile Henry dutch oven for baking the bread.  I kept the lid on for the first 23 minutes and then took the lid off for the remaining 21 minutes.  If you are unsure if the bread is cooked, tap it with a wooden spoon and if it sounds hollow it should be done.  Nancy Baggett’s cookbook has a number of interesting recipes that I would like to try.  

Here is the recipe:

4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose white flour, plus more if needed
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
Scant 2 teaspoons plain table salt
3/4 teaspoon rapid rising, bread machine or “instant,” yeast
1 12-ounce bottle well-chilled pale ale or beer
2/3 cup ice cold water, plus more if needed
Vegetable oil for coating dough top
1/4 cup sesame seeds or poppy seeds, or a blend of seeds for garnish

First rise: In a large bowl thoroughly stir together the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Vigorously stir in the ale and ice water, scraping down bowl sides completely and mixing until the bubbling subsides and the dough is thoroughly blended. If it is too dry to mix together, gradually stir in just enough more ice water to blend the ingredients; don’t over-moisten as the dough should be stiff. If necessary, stir in enough more flour to yield a hard-to-stir dough. Turn it out into a well-oiled 3-4 quart bowl. Brush or spray the top with oil. Tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap. If desired, refrigerate the dough for up to 10 hours; this is optional. Let rise at cool room temperature (about 70 degrees F) 12-18 hours; if convenient, vigorously stir once during the rise.

Second rise: Using an oiled rubber spatula, lift and fold the dough in towards the center all the way around until mostly deflated; don’t stir. Brush and smooth the dough surface with oil. Re-cover the bowl with nonstick spray-coated plastic wrap. Let rise using any of these methods: for a 1 1/2- to 21/2-hour regular rise, let stand at warm room temperature; for a 45-minute to 2-hour accelerated rise, let stand in a turned-off microwave along with 1 cup of boiling-hot water; or for an extended rise, refrigerate, covered, 4 to 24 hours, then set out at room temperature. Continue the rise until the dough doubles from the deflated size, removing the plastic if the dough nears it.

Baking Preliminaries: 20 minutes before baking time, put a rack in the lower third of the oven; preheat to 450 degrees F. Heat a 4-quart (or similar) heavy metal pot or Dutch oven or a deep 4-quart heavy, oven-proof saucepan in the oven until sizzling hot (check with a few drops of water), then remove it, using heavy mitts. Taking care not to deflate the dough, loosen it from the bowl sides with an oiled rubber spatula and gently invert it into the pot. Don’t worry if it’s lopsided and ragged-looking; it will even out during baking. Very generously spritz or brush the top with water, then sprinkle over the seeds. Immediately top with the lid. Shake the pot back and forth to center the dough.

Baking: Reduce the heat to 425 F.Bake on the lower rack for 55 minutes. Remove the lid. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer, or until the top is well browned and a skewer inserted in the thickest part comes out with just a few crumbs on the tip (or until the center registers 208 to 210 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Then bake for 5 minutes longer to ensure the center is baked through. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Remove the loaf to the rack. Cool thoroughly.

Makes 1 large loaf, 12 to 14 portions or slices.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Louise- just a quick comment before I must go- I will definitely try this beer bread recipe when I have a weekend to do so! I have to say I am coveting your Emil Henry terrine- I checked the price of one at our Peppers' store here in S'toon- I will be using the old aluminium bread pans I kept from the farm for this one! Penny.