Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Breadmaking the Easy Way recipes

And now the how to...we began with No Knead Bread, adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery, NYC. Mark Bittman made this bread famous when he wrote about it in the New York Times in November of 2006.

No-Knead Bread

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons salt, more if using sea salt

In a large bowl whisk flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 3/4 cups water and stir until blended. Dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap (or I use a dinner plate) and let it rest for 12 - 24 hours at room temperature.

When dough is dotted with bubbles, dough is ready to turn out. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it. Sprinkle more flour and fold dough on itself once or twice. Cover with plastic wrap or a dishtowel and let rest while you heat the oven. (Note: original recipe called for a second rise here - leaving it about 2-3 hours until doubled in size. I almost always skip this second rise and still have great results. Try it both ways and report back to us, please.)

Heat oven to 230 C/ 450 F degrees. Put a large (2.5 liter, 2.5 quart) heavy covered pot in the oven as it heats - 15 minutes or more if you have the time. (Use cast iron, Pyrex, or ceramic. Note that original recipe calls for much bigger pot, but I find even a bit smaller works). Flour dough again if it is at all sticky. Using a bench scraper or spatula, slide dough off work surface into hands and place in heated pot. Shake pan to evenly distribute dough. Cover with lid and bake for 20 - 30 minutes, till bread is cooked through but still pale. Remove lid and bake another 15 - 20 minutes till crust is golden. Cool on a rack

For original article, recipe and some "fine tuning," check out the following sites


Then we made our pita dough and while it was rising made tortillas.

Pita Bread
10 - 15 pita rounds

1 tablespoon honey
1 packet (2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water + 1 1/2 cups warm water
4 cups all purpose flour plus some for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
olive oil

Combine yeast with honey and 1/2 cup warm water and let stand for 10 minutes to activate the yeast

Whisk together 3 cups of the flour with the salt, then add the yeast mixture. Add 1 more cup of flour and the other 1 1/2 cups water and mix. Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 5 minutes. Dough should be a bit sticky. If it is dry add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time

Lightly oil a clean bowl, add dough and lightly oil it also. Cover with a dishtowel and let rise for about 2-3 hours. Ideally it should have doubled in size. Then put the dough again on a floured surface and roll it into a rope, approximately 2 - 3 inches/5 cm in diameter. Cut into 8 to 15 pillows, depending on desired size. Arrange on a floured surface, cover and leave for 10 - 30 minutes

Heat oven to 450 F/ 230 C degrees, put the rack on the bottom, and preheat your baking sheet. Using your hands or a rolling pin, roll the pillows out into circles, but not too flat. When the oven is ready arrange pita circles on sheet and cook for 4 -5 minutes, until bread is puffed. Repeat with remaining dough.

Flour Tortillas

4 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon baking power
1/2 cup shortening (butter also works

Work the above ingredients together with fingers until consistency is like meal.

1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water

Mix water and salt, then drizzle into flour mixture adding warm water as needed to form a ball. Let it rest 20 minutes. Shape dough into rope and cut into 8 - 12 pieces, depending on desired size. Roll out as thin as possible (and then roll thinner). Heat pan to medium/medium high. Cook tortilla for 15 - 20 seconds on one side then flip and continue turning every 15 seconds until lightly browned. Tortillas can be stored in a sealable bag and reheated in the oven.

And for our last and quickest bread, back to Mark Bittman. From his cookbook, Quick and Easy Recipes, comes "Fastest French Bread" for those last minute, ok, last hour pinches. As he says this one is not the "best bread you've ever eaten, but it's the fastest yeast bread imaginable, and it's better than anything you can buy at many supermarkets." Great for that little extra you need with soup or salad, or as a gift.

Fastest French Bread

3 cups all purpose flour, more for dusting
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon yeast
1 1/4 cups water

Whisk together the flour, yeast, and salt in a bowl or food processor. Add 1 1/4 cups of warm water all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon or with the machine on. Continue to mix, for a minute or two longer by hand, for about 30 seconds total with the food processor. Add water by the tablespoon if necessary, until a ball forms.

Shape the dough into a flat round or long loaf, adding only enough flour to allow you to handle the dough. Put the dough on a baking sheet or a well floured pizza peel. Let it rise in the warmest place in your kitchen, covered, while you preheat your oven to 425 F/220 C degrees. If you have time let the dough rise for an hour or so.

Bake the bread on the sheet, or slide it onto a baking stone. Bake until done, 30 - 45 minutes; the crust will be golden brown, crisp and firm.

We also sampled beer bread made from the following classic recipe.

Beer Bread

3 cups / 375 g all-purpose flour (up to half whole wheat / wholemeal flour)
4 1/2 tsp / 15 g bake powder (one envelope)
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp raw sugar
1 beer (12 fluid ounces or 330 ml)
3 Tbsp melted butter
  1. Preheat over to 180 C / 350 F. Lightly grease a 9x5 inch/ 23x12 cm loaf pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
  3. Pour in beer. Stir until a stiff batter is formed.
  4. Scoop batter in prepared loaf pan. Pour melted butter over top of batter.
  5. Bake in preheated over for 50 to 60 minutes, until knife inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.
Note: One German-sized beer of 0,5 l is ideally suited for making a double-batch of bread, or alternatively, make only one loaf when you're in the mood to drink the other half of the bottle. The type of beer influences the flavor of the bread, so have fun experimenting with different beers...we have plenty of great ones to choose from in this region!

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