I love good bread. Who doesn't? On a typical summer weekend I purchase freshly baked (usually still warm) French bread at Costco, slice it, toast it, and top it with bruschetta. I go out of my way to buy the Costco French bread because of it's crusty exterior and chewy interior. The bread is heavenly. After last weekend, that bread may have some competition.
I hadn't heard of No-Knead bread, but after reading about Monica's version on Lick the Bowl Good I added it to my "to-do" list. I should point out that just one year ago I had never successfully baked a yeast bread. I've come a long way in the past year, and I'll credit the food bloggers out there for making it look easy.
This bread is easy, I promise! The worst part is that it takes nearly 24 hours from start to finish and that I ended up with flour all over my stove top and kitchen floor. Otherwise, this was no hassle at all and the results look gourmet.
I read Monica's version and I also read the original from The New York Times. I decided that because I have an abundance of rosemary growing on my deck that I'd do a garlic and rosemary version. I took a few minutes before bed on Friday night to mix up the dough. And by a few minutes I mean less than 5. The result was pretty ugly and I was skeptical.
The recipe only calls for 1/4 teaspoon of instant yeast. I had never even heard of instant yeast, but sure enough it was in the baking aisle of my grocery store. But just 1/4 teaspoon?! I was sure this mess would not rise. I woke up the next morning to this:
By early afternoon I was ready to continue with the recipe. I baked it in my Dutch oven (which isn't a Le Cruset, but a $36 knockoff from Sam's Club) and I was still skeptical that it wouldn't work. But, like magic, this is what I pulled out of the oven:
The bread was very dense with an exterior that sounded solid as a rock, but after cooling it for one hour, slicing it and topping it with soft butter, I was in heaven. My entire kitchen smelled like fresh rosemary and baked bread. Perfect European-style bread. I have visions of slathering this with roasted garlic butter, using it for grilled cheese, topping it with bruschetta, or serving it with wine and cheese. Yes, I would make this bread again! It's going onto my list for Thanksgiving baking. I'll still make the yeast rolls that were so successful last year, but this will be a nice addition to the bread selection.
Put your own spin on this bread. You can do this! You don't need to knead it and the dough seems very forgiving. Special shout-out to Monica for calling my attention to this technique.
Rosemary Garlic No-Knead Bread
based on No-Knead Bread from The New York Times
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting I used bread flour
1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons garlic powder
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons salt
Extra flour as needed.
1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast, garlic powder, rosemary and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat 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 dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.