I know it was just two posts back but we were so impressed by A’s No-knead bread at winter solstice that we just had to try it for ourselves. I’m speaking here in the “royal” we as it is TB who has been doing all the actual work (well I did at least print out the recipe!).
The secret, such as it is, is to leave the bread to rise for a long period of time, 18 hours to be roughly exact. It is interesting that this long rise is one of the key techniques employed by Jean Luc Poujauran (as seen in the second episode of French Food Safari). However, unlike Jean Luc, we do not have a 74 year old sourdough starter so we just had to stick to the rest of the recipe as written.
The basic bread components, yeast, flour and water, are pretty much thrown together in the bowl and just left, so even a novice bread maker shouldn’t be intimidated by this recipe. TB started his loaf Thursday evening before going to bed. Somehow I don’t think leaving it sitting in the unheated kitchen overnight when the outside temperature dropped to – 5 degrees was quite what was anticipated, however I moved it into the loungeroom when I got up and it did quite well in the warmer room.
What you are looking for is lots of big bubbles in the surface of the dough.
Again the next stage of taking it out and folding the dough over on itself twice, is very easy (particularly compared to the old knock back and knead technique).
After folding the dough is placed in a floured tea towel and left for its second rise, just two hours this time.
Next the bread is placed in a heavy casserole dish which has been pre-heated in the oven. It is through cooking the loaf in an enclosed container that the development of the fantastic crust on this loaf takes place.
After the initial cooking period of 30 minutes the lid is removed and the bread is baked for a further 15-30 minutes.
Et voila! Our first loaf of no-knead bread.
What to do with it? Further inspiration from Maeve and Guillaume, using our own homemade bacon and cheddar cheese.
We couldn’t resist a second try with a mix of 80% white flour and 20% wholemeal flour.
If you still have a serious passion for Jean Luc’s bread you might like to visit the Fresh Loaf where someone who has tasted the real thing has their own go at recreating it. Be warned this is real serious foodie stuff!