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Previous projects:
1. Exploring Taipei's eats during my last Taipei trip
2. The "One new dish a day!" project and my review.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Effortless crusty and chewy breads!

The preparation for making this crusty and chewy bread takes only about 10 minutes. While the dough is rising, resting or baking, I may engage in my usual daily activities.
Speedy No-Knead Bread 不用揉麵的麵包 Speedy No-Knead Bread 不用揉麵的麵包
I first read the "Speedy No-Knead Bread" recipe almost two years ago, when it was published in the New York Times Magazine. According to Mark Bittman, the author, the recipe enjoyed "immediate and wild popularity", when he first wrote about the no-knead bread in 2006.

I am an amateur bread baker. Since I took a bread baking class at the Culinary Institute of America last summer, I have successfully made various kinds of breads including baguettes and raisin cinnamon swirl bread. I have upgraded to a 7-quart Viking mixer. However the bulky Viking mixer and the thought of committing to staying home for several hours at a stretch to check on the dough have deterred me from making breads frequently. The concept of no-knead bread is very attractive to me. However, once I tried the "No-knead Deli Rye Blitz Bread" recipe from the King Arthur Flour Web site and failed miserably. My family hated it and I had to finish eating the big pan of bread all by myself. When I re-encountered the "Speedy No-Knead Bread" recipe, I, with reservations, decided to give it a try. Unexpectedly I succeeded on the first try. All my family loved the crisp crust and chewy interior.

I followed the "Speedy No-Knead Bread" recipe exactly except that I used a stainless steel pot with cover. I used King Arthur Flour's organic bread flour and SAF Red instant yeast. The bread turned out to have a crisp, golden brown crust and a chewy interior. My family love it.

A few pictures here showing the bread at various stages:
  • King Arthur Flour's organic bread flour and SAF Red instant yeast.
  • DSC00225 DSC00226

  • The dough was just folded twice, after 4 hours of rising, and about to rest for 30 minutes.
  • Speedy No-Knead Bread 不用揉麵的麵包

  • The dough, ready to go into the oven, was just placed in a hot pot which had been heated at 450 degree for 30 minutes.
  • Speedy No-Knead Bread 不用揉麵的麵包

  • The golden brown crusty bread was right off the oven and before being removed from the pot.
  • Speedy No-Knead Bread 不用揉麵的麵包

  • The golden crusty bread was being cooled on a rack.
  • Speedy No-Knead Bread 不用揉麵的麵包

  • The bread was cut with its chewy interior exposed.
  • Speedy No-Knead Bread 不用揉麵的麵包
The actual preparation time required for making this bread is less than 10 minutes. During the rising period of about 4 hours, I could take a walk or run some errands. During the 30-minute resting period, I put the stainless steel pot in the oven and heated the oven up to 450 degree. I set up a timer to remind me when to go to the next stage. While the dough is rising, resting or baking, I may engage in my usual daily activities. If you enjoy fresh crusty and chewy breads like my family do, this is a recipe worthy for you to try.

Chopped walnuts may be added during the folding step. Put the walnuts on the top of the dough and fold the dough so that the walnuts will be wrapped inside. Repeat once. Other ingredients such as raisins, chocolate or roasted garlic may also be used.
No-knead bread with walnuts
Smart tips:
To take advantage of the hot oven at 450 degree F, I roast vegetables such as onions, potatoes and bell peppers alongside the pot being heated or the bread being baked in the oven.

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