Fast(ish) No-Knead Bread
The other week at the library, I stumbled upon Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread. I’ve occasionally thought of getting into bread baking, but it always seemed too finicky and time consuming. We also have a couple of bread failure stories in the family, so I wasn’t in a rush to add to the heritage.
But after flipping through the pages and pictures, I decided to give it a whirl. The first attempt, Pizza Napoletana, was pretty easy and turned out a delicious focaccia. It gave me hope that maybe bread baking wasn’t quite as intimidating as I imagined.
However, that bread took a loooooong time (as do most of the recipes in the book). Like a whole day of planning ahead. It was delicious and a great weekend project, but I wanted to find something faster. And still easy.
A quick internet search turned up this NY Times article from Mark Bittman on a fast no-knead bread, based on a now-famous method by NY baker Jim Lahey. I didn’t have all the exact ingredients (namely, a dutch oven and instant yeast), so I made a few tweaks with help from the internet. One day I’ll try the original recipe. But for the time being, I’m happy with this modified version! Seriously easy, and quite delicious.
Fast(ish) No-Knead Bread
(Adapted from Speedy No-Knead Bread)
2 3/4 c. unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 c. whole wheat flour
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/4 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 1/2 c. very warm water
Cooking spray / olive oil
Large oven safe bowl
Wheat bran / cornmeal / extra flour
- Combine water, vinegar, and yeast.
- Mix remaining dry ingredients in a medium bowl (lightly oil it for easier removal later).
- Add water mixture to flour mixture. Gently stir to combine, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Dough will be shaggy.
- Cover bowl with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let rest for 3-4 hours in a warm place. (I put mine in the oven, preheated to 150°F and then turned off.)
- Transfer dough to lightly floured surface and fold once or twice. Generously coat a cotton towel with flour, wheat bran, or cornmeal; place the dough seam side down on the towel and dust with flour. Cover the dough with a cotton towel and let rise 1-2 hours at room temperature, until more than doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 450-500°F. Place the stone in the oven at least 30 minutes prior to baking to preheat. Once the dough has more than doubled in volume, transfer it to the stone. Make a couple cuts in the top with kitchen shears or a serrated knife.
- Decrease oven temperature to 425-450°F. Cover loaf with a large inverted oven-safe bowl and bake 30 minutes. Then remove the bowl and bake 15-30 minutes uncovered, until the loaf is nicely browned. Cool on a rack.