Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fun with no-knead bread

In a fit of frugality this spring I decided to start baking my own bread. I have been curious to try the various no-knead methods out there. I admit I’m a little late to the party. I mean, no-knead bread is so 2009, isn’t it?
No-knead bread is exactly that. You stir up your ingredients in a big bowl, let the dough rise for a while at room temperature, then store it in the fridge. The gluten develops while the big gloopy mess sits in the cold. The yeast breeds slowly, too, so you don’t get that sweet yeasty taste some homemade breads have. When you feel like fresh bread, you pull off a hunk, shape it quickly and let it rise for a bit. Then you bake it in a hot oven with steam.
It’s been a fun experiment. Other than making sure you have enough time to let the dough rise before baking, there is really no planning involved. The initial recipe makes enough dough for several loaves and it keeps for about 10 days.
That’s fine, you say, but how does it work for sandwiches?
I’ve had my hits and misses. My first attempt at a whole wheat loaf came out about 3 inches tall. Beth and I had to endure some ridicule from our coworkers while eating stubby turkey sandwiches for lunch that week.
I have yet to find the best recipe for whole wheat sandwich bread. One was too sour, the other too heavy. The too heavy whole wheat sandwich loaf was a nice match for my favorite peanut butter and pepper jelly sandwich, though. Even sliced thinly, the bread stood up to the jelly without getting soggy.
I have a feeling I’ll be playing around with no-knead bread for some time to come!


Kate said...

I've been using this method (and half wheat/half white flour) to make no-knead sandwich loaves, and they turn out fairly well. The flavor could use some improvement though, so if you figure out an aces flour combo, let me know! I also never do a refrigerator rise - just the 18 hour counter top one, with half a batch of bread (so I only get one loaf).

Amy J. said...

I like this one for home made whole wheat:
Amy J.