London and No-Knead Bread

February 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

After a three month sabbatical off work (well, really, off life!), I’m back. Blogging that is, but not back in Vancouver.

Claudia’s Kitchen is now in London!

I’ll start updating my culinary adventures again, along with observations from a Canadian in London.

For example, did you know the orange light on stop lights is used both to stop and go here? I know. Blows your mind, right?

(You probably also knew the traffic runs the opposite way. I’m still struggling with that one).

ANYWAY. Magic bread.

When there’s a lot of uncertainty in my life, I like to bake. It gives me a feeling of accomplishment and (usually) turns out the way I plan (life isn’t that easy). I’m looking for a job now in London, which inevitably gives me moments where I feel inadequate or I think to myself, “oh, &^#$, what am I doing here?!”

You know what helps? Making a delicious loaf of bread. I’ll know I’ll always be able to make bread. And bread this pretty!

Executive summary of how to make this deliciously simple, totally amazing bread:

  1. The day before you want bread, mix flour, water, and a bit of yeast. Stir and cover with plastic.
  2. Three and a half hours (the next day) before you want bread, give it a little mix, cover with flour, leave on counter.
  3. An hour and a half before you want bread, turn on the oven and put a pot with a lid inside.
  4. An hour before you want bread, put dough in pot, lid on pot, and put in oven. Bake with lid on for thirty minutes, and another 15 without the lid on.
  5. Remove from oven when brown, marvel at bread magic.

It’s almost no hands on time- just requires a bit of advanced thinking. Basically, the fermentation time allows the yeast to activate the gluten in the flour over time, so instead of you doing the work, the yeast does. Cooking it in a pot with a lid allows the steam to surround the loaf when it cooks, giving it a perfect crust.

The amounts and all that

3 cups flour (you can use all purpose or bread flour- I did bread and I’ll try it next time with whole wheat and bread)
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 5/8 cups Water

Mix the flour, yeast, and salt together. Add water and stir. Let sit for 12-18 hours.

Flash forward 12-18 hours, your dough surface should be dotted with bubbles. Cover some of your counter with flour, pour the dough out on there, pull it together with your hands once or twice, cover with plastic, and leave it for 15 minutes. (Perfect timing to clean your kitchen!)

Shape the dough into a ball (put flour on your hands if you’re getting sticky). Coat a teatowel with flour, and put the dough seam side down on it. Cover again with a tea towel. Let sit for two hours.

After an hour and a half, turn on your oven and throw a pot in (cast iron, ceramic, enamel… just no plastic, ok?)

Once your two hours is up, carefully take the pot out, plop your dough in, and bake for half an hour with the lid on. Take the lid off and bake until browned, 15 – 30 minutes. Cool on a rack.

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