Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Bread from the New York Times
The No-Knead Bread recipe from Mark Bittman – aka the New York Times’ Minimalist – is one of those recipes that has taken on a life of its own. Published in the newspaper in 2006, it still keeps cropping up on other people‘s blogs and, finally – it was on my list of recipes-to-try for ages – I’ve gotten around to making it.
The first time I used this recipe was three days before our wedding. Awake at 4am one morning, I thought it was a good time to start the 18-hour proving (it sure beat writing wedding preparation lists!) so I threw the ingredients into a bowl and forgot about it until 6pm that evening. We were on our way to the airport to collect the Husband’s Cousin, so it got a quick shaping and was abandoned while we whizzed down to Cork, collected the HC, and brought him home. While they brought the bags into the house, I ran ahead to turn on the cooker and start preheating my cast iron casserole – I don’t think the bread came out of the oven until midnight but it was certainly worth waiting for. It had a gorgeous, crackly crust, (although somewhat over-floured by yours truly, panicking after trying to shape the wet, shaggy dough) and firm, chewy crumb. We ate it the following morning for breakfast and I was looking forward to trying it toasted – until I landed almost the entire loaf in a sink full of washing-up water as we raced around, getting ready to leave for another airport trip!
Friday night, after we arrived at the cottage, I started the bread mixture, this time substituting one cup of rye flour for one of strong flour. As I wandered off to nearby Longueville House for an indulgent, and prolonged, lunch with the Kerryman’s mother, the Husband had to step into the breach for the final shaping although I did make it home for the cooking. This time round, I kept it safe from the sink, we enjoyed the loaf over three meals and it is fabulous toasted, especially when rubbed with a clove of garlic and drizzled with a little olive oil.
For the recipe, I’ll refer you to the New York Times. I cook it in my 29cm oval cast iron casserole and these are the proportions that I use:
2 cups strong flour
1 cup rye flour
1 sachet instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Update 31/07/07: For a great step-by-step picture guide of how to make this bread go here and Clotilde has adapted the recipe for the metric world over on Chocolate and Zucchini – but, I have to reiterate this, be very careful when you’re transferring the dough to the pan to the cooker. It is VERY HOT (last weekend’s lovely oven-shelf-shaped blister on my arm is now finally healing after lavish amounts of aloe vera).