I must say, things are looking up.
Sometimes, all a girl needs is some freshly baked whole wheat bread slathered in Earth Balance.
Besides releasing endorphins via carbohydrates, I also spent the entire weekend getting my life in order!
I cleaned. I organized. I did Holiday prep. I bubble bathed.
I cleaned off the kitchen desk that was covered for 3 months…
I rocked my to-do list…
- Paid bills/business banking
- BUBBLE BATH
- Cleaned main level of house
- Organized kitchen supplies, clean out baking drawers
- Donated all items not in use (got 2 boxes worth to donate!)
- Clean/tidy office
- 3-4 loads Laundry
- Baked 2 recipes for blog
- Bought new bed
- Finish X-mas shopping
- Wrapped all gifts + ship out gifts
- Grocery shopping
I am starting to feel like my life is sloooooowly getting back on track. This week I need to make time for the dentist and a much needed hair cut, two things I have not had time for over the past few months. I also need to work on my business tax prep and email catch up before the holidays arrive on Friday.
But, back to this bread.
You may have heard about this famous ‘No Knead Bread’ recipe from Jim Lahey at the Sullivan Street Bakery. The recipe was published on the New York Times website in 2006 and the bread has graced many food blogs over the past few years.
I finally decided I would give it a shot myself!
While I have admitted that I love kneading dough, my curious nature just got the best of me. I also wanted to try this recipe using 100% whole wheat bread flour to see if it would still turn out.
4 Ingredient No Knead Bread
Adapted from Jim Lahey.
- 3 cups 100% whole wheat bread flour (note: this is not the same thing as regular whole wheat flour)* see note
- 1/4 tsp instant yeast
- 1 + 5/8 cup warm water
- 1 + 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- Additional flour for dusting
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. The mixture will be very sticky and shaggy, but this is normal. Place into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature for 12-18 hours.
After rising, turn out the sticky dough onto floured surface and fold the dough a couple of times. Place back in the bowl, covered, for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, grab the dough and lightly flour your work surface if need be. Only use enough flour to prevent the dough from sticking because you don’t want to dry out the dough. Fold corners into the middle to shape it into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal. Place the dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. 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.
30 minutes before the rise is over, preheat oven to 450F and place a 5-8 quart cast iron pot (or other sturdy pot that can withstand this temperature) with lid in the oven while it heats.
After 30 minutes of preheating, carefully remove the pot from the oven. Place a square of parchment on the bottom of the pot and place the dough ball seam side up into the pot.
Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on at 450F. Remove lid and bake for an additional 10-20 to brown. Cool for about 10-20 minutes.
Note: Using 100% whole wheat bread flour resulted in a fairly dense dough that did not rise as much as the white flour version. This version also did not have air holes or pockets throughout the bread. With that being said, if you don’t mind a denser and hearty bread, then this one may be for you. You could also try using a mix of whole wheat bread flour and white bread flour to see if that lightens things up.
First things first, mix all 4 ingredients together and let it rise for 12-18 hours, covered in plastic wrap.
My dough mess looked like this after about 14 hours…
Turn the hot mess onto a lightly floured surface and fold the dough a couple of times. Place back in the bowl, covered, for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, fold the corners into the middle to shape it into a ball.
Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal. I used flour and it was one heck of a mess!
Place the dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours.
Tip: If you use a tall narrow bowl, the dough should rise higher as the walls will force the dough to expand upward.
After 2 hours, place the dough ball seam side up into the preheated pot.
Do as I say not as I do, apparently. I placed it seam side down by mistake. I’m not sure how much this impacts the final outcome! Maybe it doesn’t rise as much when it is seam side down?
Bake for 30 minutes covered with the lid, and then carefully remove the lid and brown the bread for 15-20 minutes.
Rustic, wholesome, goodness.
The result is a very crispy outer shell with a moist and dense interior.
The crumb was a bit spongy for my liking, but it was nothing a slather of Earth Balance couldn’t fix. Our favorite part was the crisp outer crust…it was incredible and made this bread so rustic.
Eric and I proceeded to eat half the loaf for lunch.
Is there anyone who actually makes fresh bread and does not inhale it when it comes out of the oven?
My overall impression of this no knead bread is that it was more work and mess than it initially seems.
I probably would opt for making kneaded bread next time, only because there is not a 12-18 hour wait period and I think the whole wheat dough might rise better using a traditional method. I’ll have to test out a kneading recipe soon to compare! If anyone has some good whole wheat bread recipes, please shoot em my way.
Either way, Eric and I still very much enjoyed this bread and if you don’t mind the 12-18 hour rest time, it might be a good option for you! You may also want to play around with the flour too using a mix of white and whole wheat bread flours as this one was a bit dense.
PS- I found this quote on an old bread post and I’m re-posting it because it makes me laugh and it is TRUE!
“Any human being is really good at certain things. The problem is that the things you’re good at come naturally. And since most people are pretty modest instead of an arrogant s.o.b. like me, what comes naturally, you don’t see as a special skill. It’s just you. It’s what you’ve always done.”
- Stephen Jay Gould, evolutionary scientist