Bread machine and kneading are obsolete with the latest crave for no-knead bread recipe. Since the New York Times published an innovative No knead bread recipe last November adapted from Jim Lahey’s recipe at Sullivan Street Bakery, everyone made its own version.
I discovered the technique a couple months ago while watching a TV series called A la di Stasio. This show is very popular in Quebec. The recipe was given by Eric Girard, the baker of the hip and popular Olive & Gourmando bakery-café located in Old-Montreal. I was hooked.
Last week, one of my favorite chefs Micheal Smith published its No-knead bread recipe in its newsletter. Michael Smith made a normal size loaf recipe plus a larger loaf recipe, which is handy when you are entertaining. His recipe is for the more nutritious multi-grain bread. The whole wheat no-bread recipe is something different than the rest.
Basically, the three recipes are quite similar. The no-knead bread technique works on the principle that the dough has to rest for 12 to 18 hours instead of kneading it. Yeast needs time to create its magic.
While I was watching A la di Stasio, Eric Girard talked about small details that make a difference. So I want to share them with you. Moisture is crucial to activate the yeasting process. Since summer is a more humid period, the dough can rest only 12 hours. If you live in Canada and anywhere other than the south, plan for an 18-hour resting period the rest of the year.
If you use organic bread flour, you need to adjust the water quantity as the organic bread flour is more or less absorbent (I do not recall which) than an all-purpose flour.
Bread flour has more gluten, more protein and minerals than all purpose flour. Bread flour will expand more which is what you are looking for in breads. Apparently, white all-purpose flours in Canada have a higher gluten content than the United Stated. So it is something to take into account.
Whole-wheat bread flour raises less. I think this fact explains why Michael Smith recipe calls for a second round of yeast raising for about 2 to 3 hours. Most whole wheat bread recipes suggest using some part of white flour. That is what Michael Smith’s recipe does in its recipe.
To give you an idea of Micheal Smith’s Real bread recipe, here is the list of the ingredients for a normal loaf:
- 2 cups of all-purpose or bread flour
- 1 cup of whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup of any multi-grain mix
- 1/4 teaspoon of dry yeast
- 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt
- 1 5/8 cups of warm water
I just bought a bag of organic whole wheat bread flour. I like to hear from you if you give Micheal Smith’s Real Bread recipe a try. A link to the complete recipe is at the end of my post.
Eric Girard’s no knead bread recipe (Pain Maison)
I translated Eric Girard’s homemade bread recipe. This is the no knead bread recipe he does at home. This is not the bread he bakes at Olive & Gourmando.
- 3 cups organic bread flour or organic all purpose bread
- 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 3/4 – 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup of bran flour for dusting
- A very hot preheated round Dutch oven – cast iron or enamel
In a bowl, mix the flour, the yeast and the salt. Add water and slowly mix with your hand until you form a ball with the dough. Gently deposit the dough in a large bowl and put a plastic wrap to cover the bowl. Leave it to rest 12 hours in summer, 18 hours in winter.
Preheat the oven at 500 °F (250 °C). Heat the Dutch oven for 30 minutes in the oven with the lid on.
Lightly flour a work surface with the bran flour and place dough on it. Fold the dough towards the center in four folds to form a navel.
Be careful and remove the Dutch pot from the oven. Deposit the bread with the navel below. Put the lid on and cook at 500 °F (250 °C) for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for another 10 minutes. This will create a nice colored crust. Let the bread cool on a grill. Enjoy your masterpiece!
The links to the two other recipes are below. I will like to know which one of the three recipes you prefer?
+ Follow-up to No Knead Bread 101