Thursday, November 20, 2008

Almost No-Knead Bread

Okay, so I am a foodie. I cook, bake, eat and create. I sent Dave to the store last night so I could have the ale to make this bread. He bought this really fancy "boutique" beer. He had to buy the whole six pack when I only needed one can. He gave the cashier at Walker's the other 5 bottles of beer. Basically we paid 9 dollars for this bottle of Cutthroat Pale Ale. I should have read the recipe instructions more clearly; not until I looked at it further did I notice any old can of beer would do... even mild non-alchoholic beer. But, kids, the purpose of the beer is to get a really awesome crust, is awesome indeed. I had enough beer to make 4 batches of bread.

The Cook's Illustrated recipe also calls for a 6 Qt Le Crueset Enamel Coated Cast Iron Dutch Oven. Mine below is only 2 quarts. I can't afford to run out and pay 280 dollars for a bigger pot.
So I remembered I had this old Pampered Chef La Cloche Baker, that did an equally stupendous job.

Almost No Knead Bread

Makes 1 large round loaf. Published January 1, 2008. From Cook's Illustrated.

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 "Making Your Dutch Oven Safe for High-Heat Baking" 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.


cups unbleached all-purpose flour (15 ounces), plus additional for dusting work surface


teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast

1 1/2

teaspoons table salt


cup plus 2 tablespoons water (7 ounces), at room temperature


cup plus 2 tablespoons mild-flavored lager (3 ounces)


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, seam-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 readily 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 oven (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, 1/2-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 any excess parchment hang over pot edge). Cover pot and place in oven. Reduce oven 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.

Just be sure to give some away...

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The Blonde Duck said...

Yum! I love to make bread!

Heather said...

I wish I was still your neighbor.