Wednesday, November 15, 2006

No-knead bread

Just finished reading this very interesting article in the New York Times, and now I can't wait to get home to try making some bread!

Mr. Lahey’s method is striking on several levels. It requires no kneading. (Repeat: none.) It uses no special ingredients, equipment or techniques. It takes very little effort.

It accomplishes all of this by combining a number of unusual though not unheard of features. Most notable is that you’ll need about 24 hours to create a loaf; time does almost all the work. Mr. Lahey’s dough uses very little yeast, a quarter teaspoon (you almost never see a recipe with less than a teaspoon), and he compensates for this tiny amount by fermenting the dough very slowly. He mixes a very wet dough, about 42 percent water, which is at the extreme high end of the range that professional bakers use to create crisp crust and large, well-structured crumb, both of which are evident in this loaf.

What makes Mr. Lahey’s process revolutionary is the resulting combination of great crumb, lightness, incredible flavor — long fermentation gives you that — and an enviable, crackling crust, the feature of bread that most frequently separates the amateurs from the pros.
Edited to add: Here's a link to a really detailed discussion of the recipe on eGullet with precise weight measurements and lots of tips for improving the results.

2 comments:

David said...

My father and I tried making it this weekend. The color and crust were gorgeous. The crumb was amazing, different sized holes, the big ones with the sheen on the inside, nice and chewy. Unfortunately it was also amazingly bland. Personally, I blame the fact on the fact that my folks have heavily softened and filtered water in the kitchen but I'm just guessing at the cause.

Mazenbloo said...

Wow! I've never even heard of this technique before! Sounds very interesting and VERY good! :D