4.15.2008

Start This Bread Tonight

Unless you read the comments on my posts, you probably missed the recipe my brother-in-law Mark shared a few weeks ago for Lemon Rosemary Bread. This was my first attempt at no-knead bread, and I am a convert to the process.

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The process is slow, but the work is minimal and easy. It's akin to baking beans from scratch; if you rinse and soak the beans the night before, all you have to do the next day is boil and simmer. Time does the work for you.

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1 3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp. chopped lemon zest
Cornmeal as needed

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, salt, rosemary and zest. Add 1 5/8 cups water and stir until blended; the dough will be shaggy and very sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest at warm room temperature (about 70°F) until the surface is dotted with bubbles, 12 to 18 hours.

Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Sprinkle the dough with a little flour and fold the dough over onto itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.

Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface or your fingers, gently and quickly shape the dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel, preferably a flour sack towel (not terry cloth), with cornmeal. Put the dough, seam side down, on the towel and dust with more flour or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise until the dough is more than double in size and does not readily spring back when poked with a finger, about 2 hours.

At least 30 minutes before the dough is ready, put a 2 3/4-quart cast-iron pot in the oven and preheat the oven to 450°F. Carefully remove the pot from the oven. Slide your hand under the towel and turn the dough over, seam side up, into the pot; it may look like a mess, but that is OK. Shake the pan once or twice if the dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.

Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the loaf is browned, 15 to 30 minutes more. Transfer the pot to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Using oven mitts, turn the pot on its side and gently turn the bread; it will release easily.

Makes one 1 1/2-lb. loaf.

Adapted from Sullivan Street Bakery (New York City) and Mark Bittman, "The Secret of Great Bread: Let Time Do the Work," The New York Times, Nov. 8, 2006.

Omit the lemon and rosemary (if you dare), and you will have this bread. Read this article for a good explanation of why no knead bread needs no kneading. I will definitely make this bread again and again, and maybe even experiment with different flavors and seasonings. I believe a loaf of cracked pepper and asiago bread is in our future. Thank you Mark for the recipe!

21 comments:

  1. Rosemary and homemade bread, two of my favorite things, I'll have to try this!

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  2. OK, off to the thrift store tomorrow in search of a pan that will do this work. Report back in 24 hours, captain.

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  3. Yum! I don't know why I hadn't thought to add rosemary to the bread. Rosemary bread is my fave - with salt crusted on the top. mmmm....

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  4. i have a bowl bubbling on my counter right now!

    and fyi - the lemon, rosemary version came from williams-sonoma. it's on their website and in the catalog

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  5. I can vouch for this -- it's DELICIOUS!!! And so easy. I have a lemon on my counter right now waiting to go...

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  6. I have tasted your bread and it may be no-knead, but it is certainly a "need." Same with your lemon-dill salad dressing. . . and can we get the recipe for your peanut sauce?

    Thanks Moll!

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  7. Hmmm. I'm gonna print this out right now. Thanks. :)

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  8. The lemon throws me off... but it looks wonderful. How about you throw me a crumb next time you make it!

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  9. Oh, this looks like heaven- Need to find that pot.
    Thanks for sharing another stupendous recipe Molly!!

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  10. I am going to try this.

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  11. Is that about a 10 inch skillet? My skillets go in inches and my dutch ovens go in quarts. The smallest dutch oven I have is 5 quarts. I do have a lid for my 10 inch if you think that would work. I am going to make that tomorrow! Or tonight...yum!!! We still have lemons on our tree too!!!

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  12. Now how can I convince my husband he likes rosemary?.?

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  13. I think this is definitely in the works for me this weekend! Thanks for sharing!

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