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!
Gourmet Magazine was after my heart this month featuring all these beautiful rolls on the February issue’s cover.
With these frigid temperature that have hit our region, I’ve been baking up a storm. There’s something about yeasty breads rising over the fireplace when the temperatures hit bottom.
My mouth started salivating the moment I grabbed the magazine from the mail pile and I’ve been baking ever since! Friday I made the Crusty Cornstalk Rolls (page 86) and Saturday I made the Buttermilk Fantails (recipe is after the jump). While the cornstalk rolls were delicious dipped in soup, they were a little hard on their own and really best right out of the oven. The fantails are another story! We’ve been savoring everybite of these rolls from the moment they came out of the oven until we ate the last bites with mussels last night. It sure helps that there’s a ton of butter and buttermilk, but it’s also their pull-apart-with-ease status that elevates them to epicurian delight! Next up, the parmesan pull-aparts and top knots.
More pictures of the baking and rising below…
Beautiful Dinner Rolls
Over the Christmas break, I took to making several batches of these because every time they came out of the oven, they barely made it to the bread basket!
Here they are rising on top of the mantle…
Pull-Apart Yeast Rolls
1 cup milk
2 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp salt
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 egg, beaten
3 – 3.5 cups all purpose flour
1 egg yolk with 1 tbsp milk
2 tbsp raw sesame seeds
5. – The Boston Globe If they build it, will we come? “Today’s new restaurants are the results of yesterday’s plans, often budgeted for and mapped out years in advance. But as these places open, they need new strategies for hard times.”
4. – The Chicago Tribune Rising to the Task “Baking bread at home can be one of the most soulful, satisfying ways to spend an afternoon—especially when successes are shared at the dinner or breakfast table, or as gifts for neighbors and family.”
3. – The LA Times Political food for thought: Obama, Biden, McCain and Palin’s states bring a mix of flavors to the table “From the wilds of Alaska to Southwestern spices, from Chicago’s meaty fare to Delaware’s seafood, their regional ingredients can combine for a remarkable feast.”
2. – The NY Times Some Heavy Reading, Recipes Included “Once, all it took to cook like a chef was the nerve to push a live crayfish through a sieve. Now that the fall publishing season has delivered several hundred pounds of recipes from these international stars of molecular gastronomy, home cooks may want to prepare the kitchen with syringes, soy lecithin and a big bag of hero worship.”
1. – The Oregonian Getting into Sauerkraut “Slice cabbage. Add salt. Stay away for a really long time. Such is the mysteriously simple formula for homemade sauerkraut, the kind sold in crocks in old-fashioned German delis, eaten with abandon throughout Eastern Europe and that some remember as the smelly stuff Grandpa nursed along in the basement.”
photo from The NY Times
I don’t know about you, but I’m hooked on Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread that Mark Bittman wrote about in The NY Times about two years ago. It makes a weekly appearance on our dinner table as I thought it couldn’t be easier to make a homemade loaf of bread for dinner. Well, Bittman has gone and made it easier! This week, he published his revised recipe along with a recipe for whole wheat no-knead bread! Lahey has yet to share a recipe for revising the recipe to include whole wheat flour, but we can be sure when he does weigh in that the result will be delicious.
Yesterday I whipped up a loaf of the whole wheat version and made it into sandwiches for dinner. The results were good, not great, but good. As far as simplicity goes, I really don’t think it could possibly get any easier than this – just quickly stir together all the ingredients in a bowl and leave it to sit on the counter for four hours. Then dump into a loaf pan and let sit one more hour… Then bake for 45 minutes. No messy kneading needed.
I wasn’t thrilled with the flavor or the chewiness of the dough. I think adding a little honey (maybe 2 tbsp in place of 2 tbsp of water) would enhance the flavor and as for the chewiness, I’m not sure how to fix that. I think I would also really like it if I added some oatmeal to the flour.
Have you tried it yet? What are your thoughts?
Ramona over at The Houndstooth Gourmet is having a little “You say tomato, I say tomahto” contest to celebrate the abundance of tomatoes in all of our gardens right now. This is one of my absolute favorite recipes… EVER. If you’ve never had Tomato Bread Salad, you must must must try this… You’ll be hooked… But be warned, it’s only incredible when you use the ripest, freshest tomatoes right out of the garden (or farmer’s market)
And the other secret to a great Tomato Bread Salad is you can’t be shy with the olive oil – and use a good olive oil as the simplicity of the ingredients really warrants the best in each of the ingredients.
Tomato Bread Salad (aka Panzanella)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2lbs ripe tomatoes, hacked into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
6 basil leaves, shredded
1 loaf day old French bread (baguette works well too!)
sea salt to taste
fresh ground pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut bread into about 1 inch cubes. Toss with olive oil and garlic. Place on a baking sheet and cook until gold brown and slightly crunchy on the outside. Remove from oven and immediately toss in a large bowl with remaining ingredients. Another key is to get as much of the tomato water into the bowl with the bread, as it’s so delicious when the olive oil soaked bread absorbs the juice from the tomato. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
After a delightful dinner at a local Malaysian restaurant last week, I was determined to make roti chanai, the incredible bread served with delicious homemade curry as an appetizer. Below is the recipe I used, along with tips I used from this article on how to get it just right!
3 cups plain flour
Pinch of salt
Pinch of sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1/5 cup extra water
Filed under Food, Recipes