Sunday, March 8, 2009

Quicker no knead Bread


I have been making a hybrid NTY/WSJ whole-grain no-knead loaf every few days for the last year. I began with Bittman’s original method, but I wanted a whole wheat version that I could use for my son’s sandwiches. Last Thanksgiving, the WSJ ran the following recipe for a whole-grain no-knead loaf from Art Smith, Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef.

1 package active dry yeast
11/2 cups warm water (100 degrees to 110 degrees)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup uncooked mixed-grain cereal or uncooked old-fashioned rolled oats
Nonstick pan spray

In a liquid measuring cup, whisk the yeast into the warm water until it dissolves. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for about 15 minutes (the mixture should become slightly foamy on top and cloudy throughout).
Pour the yeast mixture into a large bowl and stir in the all-purpose flour, honey, melted butter and salt until well incorporated. Mix in the whole-wheat flour and the cereal, place a clean kitchen towel over the top of the bowl and place the bowl in a warm place away from any drafts to double in size, about 1 hour.
Fold the dough with a spatula to deflate it. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with the pan spray and transfer the dough to the pan. Cover with the kitchen towel and set aside until the dough has doubled in size, about 25 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake until browned and until the loaf sounds hollow when the top is tapped, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and the pan and cool on a wire rack before slicing and serving.

I noticed that the recipe’s dry/wet proportions were similar to Bittman’s, so I decided to use Smith’s recipe, but Bittman’s technique (hot oven with hot covered pot). I am very happy with the results and love that I can make the bread in the evening after work.

I eventually bought a vintage Glasbake (i.e., Pyrex) loaf pan with a lid on Ebay; whole grain does work better in a loaf pan. I highly recommend a covered loaf pan. Has Bittman tried his whole-grain version in a covered loaf pan?
— Amy Silliman

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