Selected Blog Posts From the Member Community
No Knead Bread
I’m becoming known (at least the potluck we attend monthly and lodge) as the bread guy. I received a recipe a couple of years ago, and made a couple simple changes. I also made 2 significant changes that make 2 other types of bread. This bread “costs” about 25 minutes of work time (maybe less), and another 30 minutes of being aware of the 10 minute mark, and the 30 minute mark, and responding at those marks. This bread is very simple, and requires no kneading. (why less than 25 minutes actual work time!) More importantly, I make this 2 to 3 times a week. We haven’t bought bread but twice since I got home from my last assignment in December of 2003. (both times I was sick and didn’t feel up to making bread.)
- 1 package rapid rise yeast
- 2 tbs. honey – originally 1 ½ tablespoons of sugar. (to be honest, I use the same tablespoon I eat soup with, and can’t measure a half very easily.)
- 1 tsp. Salt (originally 2, but 1 works as well and is better for you)
- 2 cups warm water. (If y’all eat mashed potatoes, you should save the water you boil the potatoes in and use it in place of the 2 cups of water too (makes a higher raising loaf and changes the flavor a little too…)
- 5 cups all purpose flour
- Combine yeast and honey to water and let stand for 5-10 minutes to insure yeast is working (called proofing – basically means you should see foam on top of the water / honey mixture. If there isn’t foam, throw it out. You’ve been lucky enough to have a dead package of yeast. Start again with 2 cups of warm water and 2 tablespoons of honey and another package of yeast) in your mixing bowl.
- Add 3 cups of flour and the teaspoon of salt to the wet mixture, and stir with the same spoon (I don’t like to wash things) you used to measure the honey with. Continue stirring until you don’t see any dry flour.
- Then add approximately 2 remaining cups of flour bit (the first time, I turn the shifter 5 times) at a time. I stir with my hand to form a very sticky ball.
- Add the remaining flour (I shake 4 times each time I add flour). You want a ball that while it’s still a little sticky, is also able to get most of the dough off your hand. (note, I’m a guy and as I’ve written I use the tablespoon I eat soup with, the teaspoon I mix honey in my coffee with, and the shifter to measure the flour. I’ve used between approximately 1 to 3 cups of flour here… I think in part because of the humidity of the day, and part because while I use a “measuring cup” to measure the 2 cups of water, I’m not very accurate there either, and the shifter isn’t a real accurate measurement device either. The key words is a “ball that while it’s still a little sticky, is also able to get most of the dough off your hand”.
- No need to knead. Use some more flour to get the dough off whatever you’re mixing with and your hands. Don’t worry about using extra flour.
- Let rise in the bowl for 45 min. to an hour (covered) should raise about double in size...
- Punch down, separate into two halves, and roll into long (12" or so) rolls. Put into greased French bread pan and let rise for an hour or so till it looks good. You’ll probably have to flour the table and your hands. It’s sticky dough. We don’t have “French Bread pans”, and the “normal” bread pan is too big. We make round loaves in a pie pan, and have found bread pans that are 2/3rds the size of a normal bread pan that work really well.
- Let bread rise again to about double in size. (another hour or so)
- Bake 425 degrees for 10 min. Turn oven down to 375 degrees for an additional 20 min.
- Butter the top and sides of the loaves after you remove from the oven. (Normally takes about a total of 2 tablespoons of butter to coat the sides and tops.)
Try the bread as toast. You’ll love it!
I use the same basic recipe to make both rye and cracked wheat bread. To make it rye, I substitute the approximately 2 cups of general purpose flour with rye flour. I also add 2 tablespoons of caraway seed to the initial 3 cups of flour and 1 teaspoon of salt for the dry ingredients. For cracked wheat, I substitute 2 cups of whole wheat four for the 2 cups of general purpose flour. To make a “special” white bread, I shake a tablespoon of sesame seed over the two loaves. I also add a tablespoon of corn flour to the 2 buttered pans. (I shake off all the “extra” corn flour). For Tomato bread I add 2 tablespoons of chopped sun dried tomatoes (mix into half of the dough)… I also chop onion (probably quarter of an onion) and roll the top of the dough on the chopped onions.
Note: Bread rises best at about 85° F. It takes longer at lower temperatures… the key isn’t an hour listed for the bread to rise, but doubling in size. Also, that doubling isn’t critical… I should say at least double. I’ve got busy doing other things on both the first and 2nd raising. The first isn’t any problem (it still punches down normally); the 2nd does give some air pockets in the bread… still tastes great!)