observed by Diane » photo journal for those who enjoy vignettes of an ordinary life

Bread, beautiful bread

Have you always thought baking bread was a long, laborious task? Well it’s time to shake that notion right out of your mind. First, I have a confession to make: I do make homemade pizza dough nearly every Friday night. I do it the long way by dissolving yeast in warm water, adding it to the flour, mixing and kneading, letting rise for an hour or so, then more kneading. A person needs to plan and have time for THAT! But, here’s the great news! Twice in the last month I have come across two different people who are making beautiful artisan bread but without all that time and without all that kneading.

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Crusty aromatic bread that looks like this loaf I baked yesterday. I replaced 1/3 of the flour with rye flour even though this is the first time I’ve ever made this particular recipe and it was delicious. We enjoyed it still slightly warm married with a variety of cheeses and homemade chicken vegetable soup. You’re still wondering how this is possible. I let time do the ‘kneading’ and rising.

I used the recipe and instructions for the No-Knead Bread out of The New York Times (print it while it’s still online) adapted from Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery. Your patience will be rewarded if you let time do the work. It’s also called an 18 hour bread because that is how long you leave it (and that’s with no major mixing, no mess, no kneading) overnight to rise and proof. But since all bread needs that second rise for that excellent artisan texture, I’d suggest building in about 20-24 hours from the time you add the ingredients to your bowl to when it comes out of the oven.

I added my ingredients in a bowl right after clearing the supper table and let it do its thing overnight. The next day at lunch I punched it down, shaped it and let it rise (yes, no kneading) for a couple more hours. When I was ready for it a few hours later, I put it in the oven.

Give it a try. You won’t believe how easy peasy it is and how absolutely fabulous it is as well. I’m thinking I may make two next time and give one as a gift. The smell when it comes out of the oven is divine but the flavour will knock your December socks off!

PS: As you’ve likely noticed I’m swamped and haven’t had much time for blogging. This will likely be the case until after Christmas though I’ll try to post once or twice before then, if possible. Enjoy your bread and let me know how yours turns out!!

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