No-knead bread

No-knead bread

No-knead bread is a method of bread baking that uses a very long rising time instead of kneading to form the gluten strands that give the bread its texture. It is characterized by a low yeast content and a very wet dough. Some recipes improve the quality of the crust by baking the bread in a Dutch oven or other covered vessel.

Method

According to one version of the method developed by New York baker Jim Lahey, as described in his book My Bread, one loaf of the bread is made by mixing three cups (400 g) flour, 1¼ teaspoon (8 g) salt and ¼ teaspoon (1 g) instant yeast with 1½ cup (350 ml) cool water to produce a wet, sticky dough. The dough is allowed to rise, covered, for 12 to 18 hours until doubled in size and covered with bubbles, then scraped onto a floured surface and allowed to rise, covered, for another hour or two. It is then dropped in a pot that has been preheated in an oven at 230 °C (430 °F). The bread is baked in the covered pot for 30 minutes and, with the lid removed, for another 15 to 30 minutes until the crust is a deep brown, then removed from the pot and allowed to cool for an hour.[1]

The method uses a long rise instead of kneading to align the flour's gluten molecules with each other so as to produce a strong, elastic network, which results in long, sticky strands. The automatic alignment is possible because of the wetness of the dough, which makes the molecules more mobile.[2] Wet doughs, which use a weight of water of about 75% that of the flour, require more salt than conventional doughs, about 2% of the flour weight.[3]

Popularization

No-knead bread was made popular among home bakers by New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman, who described Lahey's method in his November 8, 2006 column The Minimalist. Bittman praised the bread for its "great crumb, lightness, incredible flavor [and] enviable, crackling crust".[2] Two years later, he noted the recipe's "immediate and wild popularity",[4] and a 2009 cookbook described Bittman's column as "one of those recipes that literally change the culinary scene with discussions on hundreds of blogs in dozens of languages around the world."[5]

References

  1. ^ Lahey, Jim (2009). My Bread. W.W. Norton. ISBN 9780393066302. 
  2. ^ a b Bittman, Mark (8 November 2006). "The Secret of Great Bread: Let Time Do the Work". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/08mini.html. Retrieved 25 June 2011. 
  3. ^ McGee, Harold (23 February 2010). "Better Bread With Less Kneading". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/24/dining/24curious.html. Retrieved 25 June 2011. 
  4. ^ Bittman, Mark (3 October 2008). "No-Knead Bread: Not Making Itself Yet, but a Lot Quicker". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/08/dining/08mini.html. Retrieved 25 June 2011. 
  5. ^ Wolfert, Paula (2009). Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking: Traditional and Modern Recipes to Savor and Share. John Wiley and Sons. p. 266. ISBN 9780764576331. http://books.google.com/books?id=HT6D2fD4qIwC&pg=PA266. 

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