12.28.2018

No-Knead Overnight Bread






A friend recommended this recipe to us to go with roast beef for a holiday party a few years ago. It now feels like roast beef would be incomplete without this perfect, easy bread. We could make it any time but it's become a tradition along with a roast and vegetables for Christmas dinners. It is crackly, crusty, on the outside and tender inside.

No-Knead Bread
from Jim Lahey, via The New York Times

Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

3 C all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ t instant yeast
1¼ t salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed

In a large bowl combine flour, yeast, and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam-side-down on towel and dust with more flour, bran, or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

At least a half hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex, or ceramic-- we used our 5-quart round Le Crueset) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Slice, and enjoy as is or with salted butter alongside dinner.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

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