April 10, 2020
Do you have a stay at home routine yet? Experts say one way to cope with the restriction to home is to develop a routine – something as simple as going for a walk each day at a certain time. Routine helps the mind (and heart) deal with stress and uncertainty.
Last week was my first full week (which for me is Wednesday through Friday) of working remotely from home. While I still hadn’t gotten that routine fully in place I was definitely working hard at it.
I needed a distraction so early one morning as I was reading the paper I ran across a recipe that intrigued me. No-knead bread. Sounds simple enough! All I needed really was the patience to wait the 12 to 18 hour resting time for the dough! Having a lot more time on my hands these days I decided one evening to go ahead and dive into this recipe.
Note: The source of this recipe was a recent Mark Bittman column in the New York Times and it originated from a Jim Lahey cookbook. The cookbook was titled My Bread and was published by W. W. Norton & Company in 2009
There was quite a bit of discussion in the comments section about whether or not there had been an error in the printing of the recipe, as it only called for ¼ teaspoon of yeast. I went back to the original recipe from Chef Lahey and it was correct. Little yeast is needed due to the lengthy resting time.
Back to my story: I mixed the bread dough (amazingly simple recipe) and let it sit for 18 hours to get it to the recommended rising size. For the non-bakers out there, the yeast will keep on growing the bread for as long as it sits at about 70 degrees. The recipe called for doubling in size.
The other value to this little exercise was how distracting it was from the worries of viruses and the resulting bad news broadcast from every news show. A distraction was definitely needed.
3 cups Flour
¼ teaspoon yeast
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
1 1/3 cups water
Click HERE to see the instructions if you are interested in pursuing this as a distraction! After the first mix it was a 12- 18 hour wait. Roll it into a ball and let it rest again for two hours. Dump (literally) into a baking dish with a lid and bake. I lined the baking dish with parchment paper but this is not required.
So easy and I must say really delicious. It reminded Mr. Blogger and I of loaves of bread served with dinners in Italy. Chewy texture and mild flavor. And the house smelled so good!
I hope some of you will make the leap and try this intriguing recipe. I loved the way this bread recipe was described in Leite’s Culinaria article:
“Don’t rush through this recipe and skim the details. Each word, each visual cue, each explanation has meaning. Rely on the description of how the dough should appear or feel more than the timing. And know that conditions change from kitchen to kitchen and from day to day, depending on the exact flour you’re using and the temperature of your house and the humidity and, we suspect, the barometic pressure, the phase of the moon, and maybe even your mood. So some days your bread baking may seem blessed and others it may feel cursed. Although as Lahey says, “Even the loaves that aren’t what you’d regard as perfect are way better than fine.”
One of the easiest and experiential bread recipes I have ever baked!
Make the most of the week ahead. We have great weather forecast so I hope you can enjoy the weather in whatever way works best for you.