Richard’s Aunt gave us this Le Creuset pot as a gift a few weeks back!
Originally, when I decided to make this bread, I wasn’t thinking I would photograph it in any way. After all, the whole no-knead bread thing had been done many times and was all over Pinterest. I didn’t think anyone would care to read another post about it. It’s why I have no pictures of the beginning of the recipe.
But then, I realized that despite the simplicity of this bread, there are still some ways in which people might have trouble; and I could help! Also, I can show you how to take this humble bread recipe, and jazz it up with additions! Like roasted garlic!!
The great thing about this recipe, besides how simple it is to whip up, is that its flavor opportunities are limited only by your imagination. My first bread I did plain, and then experimented with a lemon and rosemary bread, and now roasted garlic. Richard wants me to try caramelized onions next. Mmmm… perhaps one with dried figs and a balsamic reduction?
I used only one bulb of garlic for this bread (and it wasn’t large by any stretch) and found it gave the whole bread a subtle flavor. I think that if you want a strong garlic taste (a proper “garlic bread” if you will) you need to use 2-3 bulbs of garlic. To roast them, simply cut the top of the bulb to expose the cloves, and drizzle over a little olive oil. Wrap it up in aluminum foil, and roast in the oven at 200°C (400°F) for 40 minutes. Once cool, simply squeeze the cloves out of their paper cases.
To add additions to this bread, you treat it a little differently than traditional breads. Normally, when you are kneading bread, you avoid adding any additions that are firm (think seeds or nuts) or that have lots of moisture (fruit) until towards the end of your kneading time. In the case of the firm additions, this is because they will cut the gluten strands you are trying to develop with your kneading (not helpful). With the wet ingredients, it’s so that you can develop a bit of gluten at the beginning, which will help to trap the moisture of the additions. But, since we’re not kneading this bread at all, you need to add the items in at the beginning. This also means that the flavors can sort of infuse overnight, which is nice.
When I made this most recent bread, the recipe was all in cups. I’m lazy, and didn’t want to have to use cups, wanting to work in grams. So I googled how many grams a cup of bread flour was, and it came up with 127g. I mixed it all together, and thought to myself – man, this dough looks waaaay to wet… oh well, I’ll see in the morning.
this is what it looked like in the morning – still too wet!
And by the morning it wasn’t much changed! Now, here is where I went wrong – because further inspection of a cup of bread flour, is that it might not weigh the 127g I was told. This is partly why I hate working in cups, despite having grown up in Canada. Depending on how people use them (Pack it full? Tap it to remove air and level off?) the weight of each cup can differ drastically. Which is why I found things online telling me 3 cups of flour was everything from 360g-420g. After how wet my dough was, I weighed a cup myself – and came up with 150 grams. That means I added 69 grams less than I should have!
So now, if you wake up in the morning, expecting to find dough you can simply tuck the ends under and make a nice boule (round dough shape) – only to find your dough spreads uncontrollably due to being too wet? I can help! You might initially panic, thinking that you can’t add flour to this dough, as it needs to be kneaded in, and this whole thing is supposed to be no-knead! Maybe you don’t know how to knead, and the dough is all wet, and you’re frustrated? Well I have a kneading technique for you, known as the “slap and fold”.
Now the beauty of no-knead bread is that it uses a technique called autolyse. See, if you add the ingredients together, but don’t knead the bread, the gluten itself will start to develop, but it takes a reaaallly long time (hence waiting 14+ hours). But you can speed up that process with very little effort. Think of your dough on the table as a four sided square. Pick up one edge until you feel the tension (where it doesn’t want to stretch anymore), and slap it over to the opposite side. Like folding. Then go around the other 3 sides, picking it up until you feel the tension, and then slapping it over. Once you have finished all four sides, you let it rest for 20 minutes. That is the slap and fold! It’s a great technique for making really wet doughs without over kneading (I use it for baguettes).
So if your dough is all loose and wet, sprinkle over a good dusting of flour and do this technique. Then dust it with flour, and cover it with cling film while it rests for the 20 minutes and repeat. You’re incorporating a bit of flour each time, while also developing more gluten tension, which will help the dough keep its shape. Once the dough feels like you can’t really stretch it over properly each time, turn it over and tuck under the edges to make a nice tight round (don’t do all 4 sides if the dough is tight after 1 or 2). From there, you can continue with the recipe, waiting for the second rise and then baking!
Now about the baking, I know that the recipe says to flip the dough over into the dutch oven, but I think I will bake it with the seam down in the future. If your seam isn’t tight (like mine – due to there being too much flour on my table) you will end up with a very craggy surface. However, if you put it smooth side up, the cracking will result in more of a round shape. You could even slash the bread yourself!
Recipe adapted from http://www.theclevercarrot.com/2013/03/no-knead-artisan-bread/
- 1-3 bulbs garlic, roasted (optional)
- 420-450g bread flour, plus more for dusting
- 375 ml water
- 0.25 tsp instant yeast (0.33 tsp active dry*)
- 1.25 tsp salt
- In a large bowl, add your water (doesn't have to be warm unless using active dry - see note), yeast, flour, any additions, and salt. Always make sure you don't add salt directly to yeast, but use flour as a buffer.
- Mix together until a shaggy mass. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit for 14+ hours (ideally overnight). The dough will be ready when it is twice its size and very puffy.
- Flour a work surface and tip out your dough. Fold the edges over, like a book,, once in each direction, to dispel the air. Tuck the ends under to make a nice boule, lightly dust with flour, and cover with cling film.
- Allow dough to rise for 30 minutes-2 hours, depending on how warm your kitchen is.
- Preheat oven to 250°C (500°F) at least 30 minutes before you are ready to bake. Place your dutch oven (or other covered baking dish that can withstand the heat) in at this time, to allow it to come up to temperature.
- When ready to bake, remove the dutch oven, and tip your dough into the pot, either seam side up, or down (your choice).
- Cover the pot, and bake in the oven for 40 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes to brown.
- When the bread is baked, you should be able to rap your knuckles on the bottom and hear a hollow sound. Don't worry too much about over baking this bread. If it's getting too brown, simply replace the lid.
- Allow the bread to cool completely before cutting.
* If using active dry yeast instead of instant, warm your water to 105-115°F (40-45°C - or nice and warm without being hot if you don't have a thermometer) and dissolve the yeast in it first, before adding anything else.