Friday, May 7, 2010

Cast Iron No-Knead Bread

I like to think that the scent of bread baking in my kitchen has the same effect on people as David’s harp playing had on King Saul. The power to soothe, to delight, to make a bad day if not good at least much better. Even if the recipe sounds more like something Saul would have thrown at the wall.

Jerram Barrs shared this recipe with me. It's a bread he makes weekly in their Dutch oven. I hadn't heard of it and have been so smitten I make it almost every week, too. Not only is it super easy, it is phenomenal with a hard crust and flavor you’d associate with artisan breads and brick ovens. In fact one chef said you can’t make a bread like this unless you have a special oven that costs, whatever. A billion dollars. But! You can make a loaf of this in your own oven with a Dutch oven for pennies. I love that.

I’ve never made a video before. I’m sure you’d not guess if you watch this. It’s so… What strikes me is, well, I may as well confess some of them now. I must’ve mentioned how economical this bread is about 20 times. Sorry. That’s not really what motivates me in life, so I don’t know why I emphasized it. And then some alert person will note I wore the same clothes both days. What a schmuck. Now you know. I don’t change every day, unlike my granddaughter, Isobel, who switches outfits at least five times a day, not an exaggeration. But, I mean, why should I? Save on laundry. It's not like I work for Bloomburgs. Who sees me anyway? Plus I'm never dirty. Well, hardly ever. And I don’t sleep in them either. I don’t.

Anyway, here’s the recipe:

Cast Iron No-Knead Bread

1 ½ cups warm water
¼ tsp active dry yeast
2 tsp salt
3 cups flour plus more for dusting. (A combination of whole wheat and all-purpose flour may be used.)
Corn meal for dusting.
  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add the flour and salt, stirring until blended. The dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest at least 8 hours, preferably 12 to 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees. [even up to 22 hours]
  2. The dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it. Sprinkle it with more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
  3. Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface or to your fingers, gently shape it into a ball. Generously coat a clean dish towel with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal. Put the seam side of the dough down on the towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another towel and let rise for about 1 to 2 hours. When it’s ready, the dough will have doubled in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
  4. At least 20 minutes before the dough is ready, heat oven to 500 degrees, then turn oven down to 475 when I put the bread in to bake. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in the oven as it heats. When the dough is ready, carefully remove the pot from the oven and lift off the lid. Slide your hand under the towel and turn the dough over into the pot, seam side up. The dough will lose its shape a bit in the process, but that’s OK. Give the pan a firm shake or two to help distribute the dough evenly, but don’t worry if it’s not perfect; it will straighten out as it bakes.
  5. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake another 15 to 20 minutes, until the loaf is beautifully browned. Remove the bread from the Dutch oven and let it cool on a rack for as long as you can stand it before slicing.


Jessica Kok said...

We love no knead bread. If you google "almost no knead bread" you'll find an even better version!

Sandra Oster said...

Great video. Miss you. I do recognize the kitchen towel.

Dawn Dahl Merz said...

My first loaf is in the oven and the fire is burning in the woodburning stove on this cool autumnal evening. We are all so excited that I am not sure it will get a chance to cool at all. Thanks for the recipe!

Stacy Tucker said...

Great video! As one who was raised on TV dinners and little kitchen experience, your love of good food and gracious attitude has been such a blessing. I have always been afraid of yeast. Not sure why it seemed out of my league. Your video makes it look so easy. I'm adding yeast to my grocery list to try the bread this week.

david, kelly & sam said...

ok. so this is totally hilarious! LOVE. IT. seriously. i reallllllllly want a cast iron dutch oven but just don't have the cash to get one yet. dern it.

gonna make this recipe as soon as i can. i'm wondering if this is the recipe sarah dryer used to use at labri. she'd make it in a glass-type baking dish with a lid, though. and the lip had a dimple in the top so the bread always took the shape of a boob. we ate is fondly.

i love you very much margie. thanks for sharing this! and thanks to tim gunn for the costume selection.


Margie Haack said...

Thanks, y'all for comments. Kelly, maybe David's mom has one hiding away somewhere. Check it out! I'm not saying steal.

Professor_P said...

I loved the video so I tried the bread. I didn't have a Dutch oven, so I tried my 12" cast iron fry pan with the mismatched, but it- somehow-almost-fits aluminum lid. Everyone loved it and now I have to make it at least once a week. And I am buying a Dutch oven so the bread won't spread out and be flat. Yummy; thanks.

Margie Haack said...

Darlene, am so glad you liked it and that it was a success despite the video. Hard to believe anyone watches it! But it's such yummy bread. Would make it right now, but it feels like 500 degrees w/out oven going.