I have my friend T to thank for introducing the no-knead bread to me. While I had the book for some time already, I had not bothered to read it (it was a gift) and had been making bread by kneading. But I was plagued with RSS which caused me much pain, so much so that my dough kneading (and yes, also my frosting piping) became greatly reduced.
But having tried the no-knead bread, I was hooked and went on to experiment a bit. My experiments gave me my go-to recipe, a slightly modified version of the original…
I actually use half of the original formula, (it is a good idea to read/know the original formula/method first) because [1.] I cannot find a 6-liter capacity container! not that it would fit in my fridge… and [2.], while we like bread, we are basically rice eaters, and half a recipe, which gives us a couple of (sometimes even 3) boules, actually last us a week.
What is my secret? Whey! I make 3 to 4 liters of yogurt every week, which I strain to make Greek-style yogurt. I am left with (sometimes a lot of) whey. While my younger brother drinks it (or uses it for shakes, etc.) I found that it makes bread a tad more flavorful…
My halved, adapted recipe:
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup whey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tablespoon instant yeast
1/2 tablespoon fine salt
3-1/3 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar, optional
The procedure is easy – just mix everything in a 3-liter capacity container (with a loose lid, do not use airtight containers). Cover lightly and leave to dough to rest for 2 to 3 hours. Then put the dough in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, sprinkle a little flour on the dough. Grab a third or half of the dough (use scissors to cut the dough) and quickly form into a boule (check out the video)
To bake, I don’t really use a dutch oven or baking stone. After forming the boule, I let it rest on an oiled, floured piece of parchment or greaseproof paper for 45 to 60 minutes. About 10 minutes before time is up, I preheat my small electric oven. And I also heat my 6-inch cast iron pan (or a 7-inch one) and grease it with canola oil. I plop my dough CAREFULLY in the heated cast iron pan and (using scissors) make cuts or slashes on top of the dough. I also sprinkle some flour on top (as opposed to cornmeal) before placing it into the preheated 400*F oven.
The bread bakes 15 to 20 minutes, or until the internal temp reads 200*F.
And it’s done!
Sometimes for variety, I would add a handful of raisins, or mixed dried fruit, or in this particular instance, a handful of sunflower seeds!
It is absolutely great slathered with butter, jam, cream cheese, or a dried fruit-honey spread!