New Adventures in Cooking: No-Knead Bread

Do you have a thing that you never, ever cook? Like you're great at making desserts and grilling vegetables but you never mess around with pasta?

Well, my thing is bread. I've never made bread.

Well, not until last Saturday. I mean, it's bread. It sounds super hard to make and why would I mess around with it when there's TONS of great bakeries out there and I can just buy some?

Well, all that has changed. Greg and I were due at his sister's house for a dinner party last Saturday and I'd been assigned to bring some sort of hors d'oeurves. I definitely wanted to make something, but a. I didn't want to take on anything too complex, b. I wanted to find something that would be a good starter to pretty much any main dish since I didn't know what they were making, and c. I didn't want to make anything that would require being heated since the oven was likely going to be in use already.

I paged through some magazines, websites and books, discarding every recipe I came across. Finally I decided: bread, olives and a few nice cheeses.

But what part of that was I going to make?

Sigh.

I realized that it was time for me to make bread.

My friend Hanna sent me a link to this recipe in the New York Times and assured me that it was very easy. I also discussed it with Sarah who is one of those people that fearlessly makes not only her own bread, but her own yogurt. She agreed with Hanna — this is a no-fail recipe. My friend Will in Los Angeles even weighed in. The Mark Bittman recipe? Yup, he said, you can't fail.

I was intrigued.

And nervous.

I began a day ahead of time, as instructed. I mixed the four, yes only FOUR, ingredients together and left them to their bowl overnight. 

The next day the dough looked as it should (puffy with bubbles) and I set about following the rest of the instructions. Everything that sounded complicated was not. The dough turned easily out of its bowl. I formed it into a ball lightly covered with flour. I covered it and let it rise for another couple of hours. I covered it with corn meal and dumped it into my dutch oven and put that into the oven.

Before I knew it there was a delicious aroma of HOMEMADE BREAD in the house. And when I removed it from the oven I was shocked by how good it looked:

Photo(2)

The real test came though when we got to Sarah's (don't worry, I packed a box of crackers in the car just in case the bread was
terrible). I put the bread on a big wooden platter with the three cheeses I'd picked out: Brie, Drunken Goat and Habanero Jack. I sliced the bread into big hunks and we all dug in.

It was AMAZING.

Really. Some of the best bread I've ever had. I'm not kidding. 

And the cheeses and olives and wine went with perfectly. Every slice was devoured.

I'm making it again this week.

You should too.

Here's the recipe: No-Knead Bread


 

21 comments

21 Comments

  • Posted February 12, 2010 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Thanks! I’ll have to look into baking bread some time. My mom had a breadmaker when i was younger and she would get everything into it the night before and then set it to be done around 8am and we would all get up to the smell of fresh bread in the morning. it was wonderful. My favorite was the Honey Banana bread she would make. mmmmm

  • Posted February 12, 2010 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Congratulations! The only tricky part with that bread is to remember a day ahead of time that you want to back it. That’s what always trips me up.

  • Rob
    Posted February 12, 2010 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    I approached bread with the same trepidation, Claire, and this was the recipe with which I turned the corner. That’s a nice loaf!

  • Posted February 12, 2010 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Ha…thanks, Rob! Have you since ventured on to other recipes?

  • Posted February 12, 2010 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Exactly! I already keep forgetting that I need to get it together today since Im making some for tomorrow.

  • Posted February 12, 2010 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    There is seriously nothing like the smell of fresh bread in the house. Heavenly.

  • Lyssa
    Posted February 12, 2010 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Claire, I’m inspired to make bread now!

  • Kerry
    Posted February 12, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    This looks great. I also took a look and saw that there is a whole wheat recipe variation too. Now I want to try both!

  • Posted February 12, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been toying with making my own bread lately too… And have been put off by how hard I thought it would be. This looks so good — I think you’ve convinced me to try it!

  • Posted February 12, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Yay! Let me if you do it!

  • Posted February 12, 2010 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Ooh, the whole wheat one sounds good!

  • Posted February 12, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Inspiring anyone to do anything feels like an accomplishment. Thanks!

  • Posted February 12, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    Alex and I love making bread. THere is nothing like it. We even made pretty darned good bagels, once!
    Yum. Now I want bread. Homemade.
    And thanks for the roll recipe. I’d done similar things before, but never with spinach and feta. It was good! 🙂

  • Susan Steyl
    Posted February 14, 2010 at 12:09 am | Permalink

    That bread looks so yummy….I made all our bread back in the day…when we lived on 30 acres in a log house (that had a cool Jen-air range). We’d get that first loaf of 3, slice it up with butter and, well, it was just too good to keep doing forever. We did NOT have enough control.
    Claire, I made the spinach feta rolls again tonight. Added pine-nuts this time. They are also too good. But I will make them again. I mix up a bit of extra filling for using another day, then make the most fabulous ommelettes. The filling stays really nice for a few days, surprise.
    LOVE the cat in the box video. Your cat is so mellow with Veronica. I have to know, does he have claws that just don’t come out around your daughter?

  • Posted February 14, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Wow, all the bread you used to make sounds yummy and impressive. And I love the idea of adding pine nuts to the rolls — what a great idea!! And good to know about the filling lasting…
    The cat is fully clawed — just doesnt use them around the baby…

  • Posted February 14, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Oh yeah, I remember your blog about the bagels. They looked good!!

  • Posted February 14, 2010 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Hi Claire,
    Off-topic, but I’m one of the folks that commented on the Hoppin’ John Recipe. I finally made a batch yesterday and it is divine! Perfect for my busy grad student existence. I’m looking forward to noshing on it all week.
    Cheers!
    Nicole

  • Posted February 14, 2010 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    Oh, thats great to hear! So glad you like it and thanks for letting me know!! And its cheap too, isnt it? 🙂

  • Posted February 14, 2010 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    It is very affordable. I think its going to become a staple. Thanks again for sharing the recipe!

  • Posted February 15, 2010 at 4:30 am | Permalink

    I tried the recipe last night/today. So simple! And the bread worked out really well, although slightly less uniformly shaped than yours. I’ve got a picture up over at my blog.
    I’ll definitely be using this recipe again. I wonder can you add grains etc easily enough?

  • Posted February 16, 2010 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Ooh, whats your blog address? I want to see it! Glad it came out well. Wonder why it was shaped differently. Maybe the container you cooked it in?

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