kaz: "Kaz" written in cursive with a white quill that is dissolving into (badly drawn in Photoshop) butterflies. (Default)
[personal profile] kaz posting in [community profile] cookability
I come from a culture that puts a lot of weight on bread, grew up in a household where my dad baked some every week and had always been sad about the fact that disability put baking my own totally and utterly out of reach - too complicated! too much washing up! way too many spoons considering cooking pasta was too much effort most days! Imagine my surprise when I discovered no-knead bread, which is so simple I've been able to make it once to three times a week for months. Part of me is still boggling at this.

I know a recipe's been already posted in this community, but this is one I've streamlined for accessibility purposes. Of particular note: you do not need a cast-iron pot or Dutch oven or the like for this, a normal rectangular bread tin is enough - I use a silicone one, which is very light and also easier because it means I don't have to grease it. Less heavy lifting, preparation, and complicated dumping things into very hot vessels ftw.

Ingredients: 3 cups of white flour [you can substitute around 1/2-1 cup for whole wheat]
1.5 cups of water
1.5 teaspoons of salt
1/4 teaspoon dried yeast
(possibly) butter or oil for greasing a baking tin

You will also need: A mixing bowl
Plastic wrap/dishcloth/a plastic bag for covering
Two spoons
A rectangular bread tin
If the bread tin isn't 100% silicone, something like a brush or kitchen towel or the like for greasing
Aluminium foil

Directions: Mix the ingredients together in a mixing bowl with a spoon until you have a dough, then cover. (This should happen pretty quickly, and as the name of the recipe says there is NO KNEADING.) Let rise for 18-24 hours, more like 12-18 if you live in a warmer climate or have a warm place to store it.

Preheat the oven to 230 degrees C/450 degrees F. Grease the bread tin if necessary (i.e.: do if it's anything other than a floppy 100% silicone one), then transfer the dough to the tin - this may be a bit messy as the dough is quite sticky at this point. Cover the tin with aluminium foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!


Notes: I got this recipe from Steamykitchen, although if you google you'll find a very similar version in many places. For the purposes of lower spoon consumption, I've skipped several steps:

- all the recipes I've found work the dough into a loaf on a floured counter two hours before baking. As far as I can tell, this is necessary if you want to get a round loaf, but doing it in a rectangular bread tin works just as well and allows you to skip this step. For a while I was letting it rise for two hours after I put it into the tin, but eventually I started skipping that and the final product didn't taste any different.

- all the recipes I've found also cook the bread in a cast-iron pot with lid that they pre-heat in the oven beforehand. A lot of them talk about how this is very necessary to get a nice crunchy crust, but to be honest I have no idea what they're on about; I've done it this way for months and haven't had any crust problems except because of temperature issues (my oven can't reliably do 230 degrees C because it's only about the size of a microwave and so I have had problems, but anytime I try this at a friend's place with a proper oven the crust ends up fantastic.)

- I also up the salt amount slightly because I think it tastes nicer and using 1.5 teaspoon of salt instead of 1 makes it easier to scale the recipe: for every cup flour you add 1/2 cup water, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/12 teaspoon yeast (you may need to eyeball that last one.)

Other issues:

Most of the recipes I've found say 12-18 or 12-20 hours rising time plus the 2 hours after shaping the dough, but I live a northerly part of Europe, don't really have anywhere above 20 C if that to store the dough, and have had the texture come out wrong when I ventured near 12 hours. For me 18-24 hours seems to be more the right sort of time, and I find that much easier to work with mentally as well: I prep the dough a day or slightly less before I plan on baking. If you live in a warmer climate, you may need to go lower on the rising time.

Usually when recipes call for preheating the oven I skip that step and it still works out, but in this case it *is* in fact important!

The main fiddly bit in this recipe is removing the hot foil after 30 minutes, which is kind of annoying and has led to scorched fingers on my part more than once. Something my dad's suggested which I haven't been able to test because my oven is too small: not using foil at all and instead putting a metal pan of water on the lower shelf. Apparently, the damp inside the oven coming from the boiling water should make sure the crust forms slowly enough for the bread to bake through. Anyone who wants to try this out, please let me know how well it works!

A tip for tidying: the doughy mixing bowl and spoons are absolutely awful to wash up at first because the dough is *really* sticky and ruins sponges etc. What I generally do is just let it dry out for a day or two - when the dough is completely dry it scrapes off really easily.

Date: 2013-05-03 02:10 pm (UTC)
steorra: Part of Saturn in the shade of its rings (Default)
From: [personal profile] steorra
I just tried this, and it is wonderfully easy, and tastes good. It's actually crustier than I prefer, so I hope I can find a way to adapt it to make it less crusty. I also had a minor issue that the bread in the oven rose into the aluminum foil and the top of the bread (before it really turned into a crust) stuck to the aluminum foil and peeled off with it when I removed the foil.

Date: 2013-09-03 05:19 pm (UTC)
steorra: Part of Saturn in the shade of its rings (Default)
From: [personal profile] steorra

I've been experimenting with baking times and temperatures recently, and discovered that if I borrow the baking procedure from pebblerocker's recipe (preheat oven to 180° C / 350° F, bake for 60 minutes), it's not necessary to cover it with foil for part of the baking. (The top crust still comes out quite crunchy.) I thought you might be interested in that further simplification. (And perhaps it would also be good with your small oven that can't reliably reach the higher temperature.) I'll likely make a post at some point mentioning it, but I want to experiment with a few other things first.

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Cookability: Accessible Cooking

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