Sunday, June 3, 2012

Two Months in One: Almost No-Knead Bread

I am excited to present to you my two months into one post. Hey, I am in the busy mom category and I am doing my best! I have been holding onto this recipe for a long time because I didn’t have a Dutch oven until Christmas so I am proud to say I finally used it and it was worth the wait.

We spend each Thanksgiving and Christmas with the Lotz/Bay family. They have been friends with my parents for as long as I am old… Allison is a busy mom of 3 boys and shows up every year with some really cool food items, while I still glorify my cranberry sauce. She makes this home made bread that looks store bought and I asked her for the recipe.

The recipe is called “Almost No-Knead Bread” from America’s Test Kitchen. I actually enjoy reading their recipes because they test the same recipe different ways and explain why you do certain parts to the process—like the reason for using the Dutch Oven. This is the perfect item to bring when invited to dinner and that is just what I did! Pairing it with artichoke tapenade and steamed artichokes met my May goal.

It’s really wordy but actually super fast and easy:

An enameled cast-iron Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid yields best results, but the recipe also works in a regular cast-iron Dutch oven or heavy stockpot. (See the related information in "High-Heat Baking in a Dutch Oven" for information on converting Dutch oven handles to work safely in a hot oven.) Use a mild-flavored lager, such as Budweiser (mild non-alcoholic lager also works). The bread is best eaten the day it is baked but can be wrapped in aluminum foil and stored in a cool, dry place for up to 2 days and makes one loaf.

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (15oz) 
¼ teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast 
1 ½ teaspoons table salt 
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons water, at room temperature (7oz) 
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons mild-flavored lager (3oz) 
1 tablespoon white vinegar 

1. Whisk flour, yeast, and salt in large bowl. Add water, beer, and vinegar. Using rubber spatula, fold mixture, scraping up dry flour from bottom of bowl until shaggy ball forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 18 hours. 

2. Lay 12 by 18 inch sheet of parchment paper inside 10-inch skillet and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead 10 to 15 times. Shape dough into ball by pulling edges into middle. Transfer dough, seem side down, to parchment-lined skillet and spray surface of dough with nonstick cooking spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until dough has doubled in size and does not really spring back when poked with finger, about 2 hours. 

3. About 30 minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place 6 to 8 quart heavy-bottomed Dutch over (with lid) on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Lightly flour top of dough and, using razor blade or sharp knife, make one 6-inch long, ½ inch deep slit along top of dough. Carefully remove pot from oven and remove lid. Pick up dough by lifting parchment overhang and lower into pot (let excess parchment hang over pot edge). Cover pot and place in oven. Reduce temperature to 425 degrees and bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue to bake until loaf is deep brown and instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 210 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Carefully remove bread from pot; transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.

I’m not saying I didn’t forget to turn the temperature back down, or catch the parchment paper on fire briefly, or slightly burn the bottom of the bread. (I also don’t have a thermometer.) But even with these barriers it turned out great and I managed to impress the Falkin family! (Thank you to the Falkin family for a great dinner, always looking out for Mason when his mom is late, and I’ll be hitting you up for that bagel recipe!)

Now to squeeze in the June ingredient: Rosemary. Use the same recipe above and in the dry mix add 1 tablespoon of minced fresh rosemary and 4 oz finely grated Parmesan cheese. In the liquid mixture add ½ cup of chopped green olives. Then follow the same instructions.

Which beauty will host our family for dinner, so I can have an excuse to make this again?!


  1. Wow Jolie, that bread looks gorgeous! I'm really impressed you super gourmand. ;) I want this at Ronald so be ready to make it again!

  2. Jolie – your bread is beautiful! I’ve heard you can bake bread in a Dutch oven, but I’ve never actually seen a recipe. I can’t wait to try this and will definitely be trying your rosemary version. And homemade bread must take artichoke tapenade to the next level. And I love that even with a fire, you still came out saying this recipe is worth it!

  3. Amazing Jolie! Bread making totally intimidates me. I'm glad you had fun making it!!!

  4. Cool post! This bread is so good. The only drawback is that it needs a bit of time. These are the original artilces from the NYT where I first learned about it.

    The last link is cool because it reduces the rising time to 4 hours. You can make that dough in the morning and have it fresh for dinner. I have found that the recipe from America's Test Kitchen keeps it shape better. The original no-knead bread is flatter and more frisbee-like in shape.

  5. I'm definitely going to try this. Although, Jolie, shame on you for not using your dutch oven until now! I keep mine on my stove because I use it multiple times a week! Those babies deserve to be doing what they do best- EVERYTHING!