Tuesday, December 8, 2009

no need to knead

I have this problem. Whenever I approach something new and for the first time, it takes me a really long time to psych myself into it.

I've been wanting to bake my own bread for a while. Ever since I met HJ and heard that she always baked her own bread, I thought - this I must learn! But I have a fear of yeast. As a friendly nudge, HJ gave me a jar of yeast for Christmas. I'm almost certain that jar is still sitting in my parent's fridge in Temecula. I'm sorry! I was just too afraid.

Well, this past Sunday, in a bout of frustration due to being holed up in my apartment working when I would rather be shopping, reading the sunday paper, or running in the glorious cold, I decided, goshdarnit! I'm going to bake me some bread!

I turned to Mark Bittman, otherwise known as the Minimalist. I love all of his recipes and videos in the NYtimes Web site. A few years ago, he posted an article and recipe about "No Knead Bread," the simplest bread recipe ever! It uses a combination of flour, yeast, salt, and water along with a very long rising time (18 hours) to produce delicious homemade bread.

I gave it a shot--mixed the ingredients, let them sit in a covered bowl overnight, and placed the dough in the oven last night after work. In the middle of the baking time, I went to the oven to check it out and voila! It was working! The bread was rising into a perfect, beautiful loaf. My roomie and I were squealing and jumping up and down, "It's working, it's working!" After letting the loaf cool, we took our first bites into the perfectly crisp crust and soft chewy innards. Friends, please get thee to a grocery, pick up some whole wheat bread flour, yeast, and salt, and work this magic in your own kitchen. You will never go back to store bought bread again, I assure you!

Recipe: No-Knead Bread

(Photographs by Ruby Washington/The New York Times; above, Don Hogan Charles/The New York Times)

From top: 1. When dough is bubbly, it is ready to be worked. 2. Fold dough once or twice; do not knead. 3. Shape it into a ball and let it rise. 4. Wheat bran flies as Jim Lahey lifts dough and drops it into a hot pot. 5. After baking, the crusty result.


  1. seriously. i want my yeast back. :)

  2. Ok, I'm baking some this weekend! Fingers crossed!

  3. I saw a similar Bittman post on fried chicken once (something like classic, no-fail, Southern fried chicken) and totally psyched myself *out* of making it, altho it sounded delicious. But bread is even scarier, and thus more impressive that you succeeded. Me loves me some carbs!