If you’ve ever wanted to bake bread but were always too chicken to try, then please visit Jim Lahey’s article and give No Knead Bread a whirl. I’ve been baking bread this way for months and I swear it’s the best thing ever. Why? Because fresh homemade bread is like sliceable heaven. There is a certain beauty in its simplicity: water, salt, yeast and flour. That’s all it takes! This is whole, natural food, folks. No preservatives needed. All that hippy stuff aside, what really gets me baking are the flavor and the time. Jim Lahey’s recipe turns out a seriously delicious loaf of bread, and because there’s no kneading involved, it’s super quick to throw together (aside from the 18-hour rise time!).
I’ve made dozens of no knead bread loaves, and with each new attempt I usually try something new such as added seeds or different flour (I highly recommend Dove’s Organic Strong Wholemeal Flour). Last week I was feeling ambitious and went for a variation of the Seeded Sour loaf posted on Breadtopia.com. The loaf contains quinoa, millet, amaranth and poppy seeds, plus a bonus seed coating on the outside. I didn’t have sourdough starter so I used yeast. The resulting loaf had a nice texture and I discovered how much I love poppy seeds. The only think I’d skip next time is the amaranth in the seed topping – it was a little crunchy for my tastes. Otherwise, the seed topping is awesome and I think I’ll use it for all of my loaves because it makes it easy to get the dough out of the bowl.
To make sense of what I’m talking about, visit Breadtopia and check out their recipe and video. I highly recommend watching the video; I learned so much just by watching the baker handle the dough and manage the seeds. It also gave me extreme baker envy as he had all these useful tools like a dough scraper and a “proofing” bowl. The same page also contains three other no knead variations that might suit your fancy.
Tempting Textures: Quinoa, Amaranth, Poppy and Millet
Four-Seed No Knead Bread
30 grams rye flour
70 grams strong whole wheat bread flour
370 grams strong bread flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 1/2 tsp. quinoa
3 1/2 tsp. millet
2 Tbs. amaranth
1/2 Tbs. poppy seeds
1/4 tsp. yeast
2 Tbs. yogurt
Seed Topping Ingredients:
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 1/2 Tbs poppy seeds
Combine all dry ingredients (except the topping ingredients) and mix with the combined wet ingredients. Stir until the dough has the consistency of a shaggy ball, adding more water if necessary. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest in a warm place for at least 12 hours (and up to 24 hours. The dough is ready when it’s about double in size and spotted with big bubbles.
Give the counter top and your hands a generous sprinkle of flour. Turn the dough onto the counter. Pull the dough at either end to form a strip. Fold this strip into thirds (like a business letter). Give the dough a quarter turn and fold in thirds again. I’ll refer to these folds as “seams”, i.e., “right now your dough is on the counter, seam side up.” Cover with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
Oil a large bowl with olive oil. Add the seed topping ingredients in the bowl and swish the bowl around until the inside is covered in seeds. Put the dough ball into the bowl seam side down. Cover with the plastic wrap and let sit for 2-3 hours. The dough is ready when it has more than doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When the dough is ready, remove the HOT pot and pour in a bit of olive oil. Swirl it around so that oil covers the entire inside of the pot. Now, take the bowl containing the dough and quickly turn it upside down over the pot so that the dough falls in seam side up. Cover the pot with a lid and bake for 40 minutes. Then remove the lid and bake another 5 or so minutes, until the loaf is browned and the seeds are toasted. Cool on a rack at least 45 minutes before slicing.