baking bread

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An interpretation of the classic Jim Lahey No-Knead bread recipe.

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  • 1. BreadAn interpretation of the classic Jim Lahey No-KneadBread recipe as published in the New York Times onNovember 8, 2006

2. Ingredients One cup whole wheat flour Two cups bread flour 1 teaspoon salt teaspoon Active Dry Yeast 1 cups water 3. This is what I use. You can use regular flourbut bread flour gives you a chewier bread.I typically start my bread early in the eveningso the dough can rise overnight. 4. You need a two quart bowl. Put the dryingredients in the bowl: one cup of whole wheatand two cups of bread flour. One and one quarterteaspoon of salt (I just heap up one teaspoon) and1/2 teaspoon of active dry yeast (I use a slightlyheaping 1/2 teaspoon). I keep my yeast in therefrigerator to keep it fresh.That is the classic bread recipe - nothing but flour,water, salt and yeast. 5. One and one/half cups of water. I warm the water in themicrowave oven for 50 seconds which brings the temperature toabout 90-95 degrees F - that is warm enough to really activatethe yeast but not hot enough to kill it.While the water is warming in the microwave I blend the dryingredients in the bowl using a soup spoon, then just pour allthe warm water in on top of the dry ingredients. 6. It looks like this before you start stirring up the dry stuff and thewater.Now stir with the soup spoon. It will seem like there is not enoughwater but you just keep stirring and blending until eventuallyeverything is wet and you have a coherent ball of dough. 7. This is an intermediate stage of the mixing process. 8. This is the coherent ball. 9. This is the way it looks from the side. 10. I then cover it with a wet cloth (if you don't use a wet clothcover, you get a skin on top of the dough) and let it sit for 12hours (more or less). Temperature matters during this risingperiod. A temperature of around 75 degrees is good. I putmine in the oven and turn on the oven light. One of ourovens gets too hot (it has two light bulbs) when I do this butthe other oven is just right (it has one light bulb). In thesummer, I just put it on the kitchen table which is thewarmest spot in our house.Here it is under a wet cloth. 11. Here it is after 12 hours - it roughly doubles in size. 12. There are other ways to finish the bread making process from thispoint but I will describe what I do.I have a polyethylene sheet, designed I think, for making piecrusts, that I use during the loaf shaping process. I spreadflour onto the polyethylene sheet. I "pour" out the doughonto the plastic sheeting - I use a plastic spatula to help itout of the bowl: 13. I divide it into two portions. 14. I flatten them into pancakes. I use flour on my hands tokeep the dough from sticking.These are kind of rectangular. I make them more roundnow and think that works better. It gives a more attractiveloaf shape at the end. 15. I like to sprinkle the dough at this point with Herbes de Province. Itadds a nice aroma and flavor.A little Rosemary and Thyme is almost as good. 16. Then I roll the pancakes up into "cigars": 17. My baking gear consists of parchment paper (I like the Reynoldsbrand) and a perforated French bread pan that came fromAmazon.com 18. I slide the "cigar" onto a a piece of parchment paper that is sized tofill one side of that baking pan 19. They then go back into that oven with the light on for two more hours for"proofing" - a little more rise time. You have exposed the yeast to somenew sources of food during all of that shaping so they will generate alittle more gas for you. The above picture is actually after the two hoursof "proofing" time. 20. I sprinkle the top with a little more Herbes de Province 21. I put the baking pan on a cookie sheet and prepare the oven. 22. I put a 8"x8" brownie pan with about 3/4" of water in it on thebottom shelf of the oven and turn the oven on to 425F. Themoisture in the oven helps give a nice crust. When the ovenis up to temperature, I gently slide the cookie sheet/breadpan combination onto a shelf that sits in the middle of theoven and bake for 40 minutes. 23. The bread looks like this when it comes out of the oven. 24. I quickly put them on a rack to cool. 25. The EndAfter the bread cools, I slice it and divide it into pairs of sliceswhich I put into a plastic sandwich bag. I put the individualsandwich bags, each with two slices of bread in it, into a largerfreezer bag and freeze. Every night for dinner, I take out asandwich bag and pop the two frozen slices of bread into thetoaster and warm them - I do not toast them.They taste as fresh as the day I made them that way.By Don von Schriltz with thanks to Carol Olson.