I was delighted to receive a review copy of Nancy Baggett’s book of fabulous, fuss-free, no-knead breads, “Kneadlessly Simple” last week. The book is available on shelves today and it’s one of those baking books (along with Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook) that you’ll be reaching for time and time again. The secret is in Baggett’s slow-rise method, which allows the yeast to grow slowly and develop the same full, satisfying flavor of traditional bread, without any kneading at all.
On my first flip through the book I flagged 10 recipes as “must try” and since the process is fairly hands-off, immediately threw the ingredients for English Muffin Loaves into the mixer. While these recipes are not ones you can start 2 hours before you want to serve dinner, the actual amount of time you are actively working with the dough is not much and the time they take to slowly rise while in the refrigerator is well worth the wait! I started this recipe on Friday afternoon and refrigerated the dough overnight. Saturday morning I let the dough rise slowly in a cool place for about 15 hours then in the evening, I stirred in the powdered milk and put the dough into the bread pans. Then, I left them in the refrigerator again overnight and Sunday morning took them out to let them rise one more time before baking. So the total time from when I started the yeast until I was eating the delicious crusty bread was about 40 hours, and I would do this again every weekend.
Both the flavor and texture that results from the slow-rise, no-knead process is as good, if not better then many of the bread recipes I’ve tried that require long periods of messy kneading. If you enjoy hot bread just out of the oven, but don’t have the time/patience for kneading, this book is for you.
Next up, Easy Buttermilk Pot Bread with Coarse Salt!