There’s a trend that’s been floating around the foodie world for a little while now – it’s the No-Knead bread phenomenon. It’s not necessarily a new technique- in fact it’s pretty ancient, but it’s recently been brought back to American kitchens and has revolutionized the way people make bread at home. The book at left, “Kneadlessly Simple” by Nancy Baggett explains the concept behind the no-knead technique and gives loads of delicious recipes to try it out. Keep reading because one of you gets to have a copy of that book for your very own! It’s pretty amazing actually, you really can make artisan style bread at home. I’m talking about the kind you only see in bakeries, with thick crusty tops, and perfectly tender centers. I was blown away with my first attempt- and guess what? It’s E.A.S.Y. Like, really easy. Here are some of the reasons why (bread & yeast-o-phobes, listen up- you’re gonna like this!)
1. No equipment necessary. All you need is a bowl and a spoon. No kneading, no kitchenaid mixing, nada.
2. You use ice water. Got that? ICE water! No worries about getting it the perfect temperature or proofing/killing yeast or anything, you just dump in ice water and it does its thing.
3. You’re not bound by the clock. At first glace this may seem inconvenient because of the long rise times noted, but that’s actually the wonderful thing about it. Since the process works as a slow, cold rise, you can work it around your schedule. You’ll notice the first rise time in this recipe says 3-10hours, and then 12-18 hours. That means you can whip it up, leave it overnight, and not have to worry about getting it in the oven at the exact perfect moment. I love that aspect about this process. So…let’s make something!
When trying to decide which recipe to feature, I decided to go out of my comfort zone a little. (Comfort zone here being recipes such as Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Bread, Make-Ahead Streusel Cake, Pecan Sticky Buns, and Apple Cream Cheese Pastries) Besides the fact that a hearty, multi grain bread sounded healthy and satisfying, it’s a kit you can make in a jar :) And you KNOW I can’t pass that one up! I love things made in jars and I know you guys do too. This one calls for some interesting ingredients, but ones you can easily find. Brown rice flour for example:
You should be able to find this in a lot of normal grocery stores. If not in the baking section, in the gluten free section, or heath food section. I bought mine at Fred Meyer. You can also find it at places like Whole Foods, and certainly any health food store if you’re having trouble finding it.
Multi-Grain Bread Kit
recipe by Nancy Baggett
3 C (15oz) unbleached white bread flour
1/4 C (1.25 oz) whole wheat flour
1/4 C brown rice flour
2 T rolled oats of quick (not instant) oats
2 1/2 T granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp table salt
1 1/2 T each sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and flax seed, mixed together
2 T cornmeal
1 packet Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise Yeast
If you’re making the kit: 1 liter mason jar
If you’re not making the kit, just follow the instructions, but put the ingredients into a mixing bowl instead of the jar.
Start by using a funnel to place the white flour into the jar. If you don’t have a funnel, use a piece of foil, or parchment paper. Lay it flat and measure out the ingredients onto it and then lift up and fold in order to pour them into the jar.
You should have your three seeds mixed together. Set aside 1 1/2 Tbs of that seed mixture and place the rest into a bowl with the whole wheat flour, brown rice flour, oats, sugar, and salt. Stir to combine and then place into the jar.
Tap again to settle the ingredients so everything fits. Take the 1 1/2 Tbs seed mixture you set aside and place in a small baggie with the cornmeal and seal the bag. Place that baggie, and also the packet of Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise Yeast into the top of the jar. It should all fit perfectly!
That’s your kit! You can make a bunch of these at a time and store them in your own pantry (for up to 1 1/2 months, or refrigerate for up to 3 months) or give some away to friends and neighbors. Now let’s make the bread so you can see how cool this no-knead concept is.
1 Multigrain Bread Mix
Scant 2 C ice water
1 1/2 T canola oil
Remove yeast packet and cornmeal-seed baggie from the jar and set aside. Place remainder of jar ingredients in a mixing bowl. Measure out 1 teaspoon of yeast from the packet and add to bowl. Stir to combine.
Stir ice cubes into some water and stir for at least 30 seconds before measuring.
Slowly pour water into dry ingredients. I highly recommend doing a little at a time. I found that 2 C was way too much water and I had to add a little more flour to make up for it. Add enough water to bring all of the dry ingredients together, stirring vigorously and scraping down the sides of the bowl. The directions in the book specifically say the dough should be “stiff” but I made it the consistency that I’m used to seeing in a normal bread loaf and it turned out great.
Once combined and mixed, brush the top of the dough with a little oil and tightly cover with plastic wrap. You can refrigerate for 3-10 hours. Then let rise as cool room temperature (about 70 degrees, so just pop it on your counter top) for 12-18 hours.
What I did, and it worked great, was make the bread in late afternoon. I left it in the fridge until I was ready to go to bed and then I took it out and left it on the counter over night. By the next morning I still had a large window of time to bake the bread so around lunch time when I was in the kitchen anyway, I moved on to the next step.
Generously oil a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Sprinkle half of the cornmeal seed mixture into the pan and shake it around to coat the bottom and up the sides a little. Stir the dough briefly. With an oiled rubber spatula scrape the dough in towards the center of the bowl, working all the way around the bowl. Invert the dough into the pan. Brush the top lightly with oil, then smooth out and press into the pan with your fingertips. Brush the top of the loaf generously with water, and immediately sprinkle the remaining cornmeal-seed mixture over the top. Lastly cut a 1/2 inch-deep slash down the dough center using and oiled serrated knife. Cover the pan with nonstick spray-coated plastic wrap.
For a 2-4 hour regular rise, let stand at warm (74-75 degree) room temp.
For a 45 min- 2 hour accelerated rise (I used this one, and it took 45 minutes) let stand in a turned off microwave along with 1 C of boiling water. When the dough nears the plastic, remove it and continue the rise until the dough extends 1/2 inch above the rim of the pan.
15 minutes before baking time, put a rack on the very lowest rack of your oven and place a broiler pan (or other shallow baking pan) on it. Place your other rack one notch above that and preheat to 450 degrees.
To bake, reduce heat to 425. Add one cup of water to the pan on the bottom rack; don’t refill if it boils dry. Bake bread on the other rack for 35-45 minutes or until the loaf is nicely browned. Cover the top with foil and continue baking for 20-25 minutes until a skewer inserted in the thickest part comes out with just slightly moist particles clinging to the bottom portion (or the internal temp registers 204-207 degrees). Remove the loaf to to a cooling rack. When it’s cool enough to handle, you can take it out of the pan.
The top crust was perfectly chewy and the seeds baked into it gave it an amazing flavor and texture.
We ate it warm with honey butter slathered on, but I almost think it was better with just plain butter where the flavor of the bread could come through more. This was seriously one of the best loaves of bread I’ve ever had!
Storage: to maintain the crisp crust, store wrapped in a clean kitchen towel. Or store airtight in a plastic bag or wrapped in foil. This will prevent the loaf from drying out, but will cause the crust to soften. Store at room temp for 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.
If you’d like to give this as a gift, you’ll need to include the recipe. –> Click Here <– for a page you can easily download and print. Pop it inside of a card and you’re ready to share the love!