Monday, 12 September 2011

Artisan Bread

Isn't it so pretty? You know, no two breads will ever look the same, like a tongue print... what a bad analogy... This recipe yields a bread that's like an almost-sourdough and it has a lovely crust and a chewy, soft centre. I think its absolutely fantastic that you don't have to go through the process of making a sourdough starter with the high risk that it's quite probable that it's going to die, or not even become alive in the first place and the bread will still have similar qualities to a sourdough. Of course, not as good as a real sourdough, but good nonetheless.

I usually use bread/strong flour since it has a lot more gluten which results in a nice chewy bread, but I've seen this been done with all-purpose flour. This recipe has been adapted from somewhere, and so I found numerous recipes everywhere, all leading back to the NY Times recipe. My process, however, is only slightly different; like where I let the yeast activate in warm water. I always activate the yeast, even though it may not be necessary, but I find that the result is usually better and it also lets you know if the yeast you're using is dead before you waste a lot of flour... Helpful yes?

Also, take note that after the 15-18 hour resting time, you'll see it being super bubbly/frothy and when you starting pulling the dough out of the bowl, you'll see that it's REAAAALLY stringy. That, my readers, is gluten! Pretty cool huh? And I don't have a photo because, well... I just don't.

Also, baking the bread with a lid or tightly covered for the first 1/2 hour will slightly steam the bread at the same time, leaving you with a chewy, dense crust. And this bread will only keep for a few days, maybe even less since it doesn't have any preservatives. It will taste way better on the first day than the next and you should definitely be able to tell the difference. Just letting you know...

This bread is a no-knead bread that takes quite a while. It takes  hours, but there's very little hands on effort. I mean, only step that requires actual contact between hands and bread is a dusting of flour to fold the dough a few times.

Overall, the bread needs around 1/2 an hour of hands on effort, and maximum 20 hours of waiting and 1 hour of cooking time. So, please don't start at a time that will cause you to wake up at an ungodly hour just to fold the dough. Here's a little something to help:
1. ~15 min to mix ingredients
2. 15-18 hours of resting
3. ~5 min to tip the dough out and fold it
4. 15 min to rest
5. 2 hours to rest in a cloth
6. 1 hour to bake

Artisan Bread (No-Knead)
Yields an approximately 750g loaf

3 cups of bread flour (strong flour), plus extra for dusting
1/4 tsp of instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp of salt
1 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp of warm water

Combine yeast, salt and warm water and leave for ~10min and then add the flour. Leave at a warm room temperature for approximately 15-18 hours (at least 20 degrees or more).

Generously flour a surface and place the dough on it. Sprinkle more flour and let it rest for 15 minutes and then fold the edges towards the centre 3 or 4 times. Dust a towel (not a terry cloth) with more flour and place the dough seam side down and pull the corners of the towel together and tie it up, keeping the dough enclosed. Let the dough rest for an additional 2 hours.

Preheat an oven with to 230 degrees C with a heavy pot like a cast iron or even a heat-proof glass mixing bowl (minimum 3L). When the dough is ready, flip the dough into the pot so the seam will be facing upwards and shake one or two times if you missed the pot really badly. Cover with a lid or tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid/covering and continue to cook for 20-30 more minutes. When golden, lift the bread out of the pot and cool slightly on a rack.

Serve warm or at room-temperature with a good quality, salted butter.

I have very nice friend who apparently thinks that the first photo of this looks like a rabbit. Or a chicken. Does anyone else think he's a little strange?



  2. Herro Jenn the voldermort with a nose. This is super cool and i finally read your blog. Yeah it kinda looks like a rabbit :)


So what do you think?