Saturday, February 20, 2010

No Knead Artisanal Bread - Sat. Blog Showcase

It is SATURDAY & that means I'm participating

in the Saturday Blog Showcase

co-hosted by Lori at

All that Splatters

and Ann at

Thibeault's Table

It is Ann's turn to host the Blog Showcase this week.
Be sure to visit her blog to see all the other delicious creations.
You are to try a new recipe each week that another blogger has shared.
Prepare the recipe during the week then link your post to
The Saturday Blog Showcase.

Include the recipe in the body of your post
(if it is not a copyright violation to do so)
and a link back to the recipe on the originating blog.

My paternal ancestors were bakers. My father's grandfather & his brother, Scott, owned a bakery in 1916. I have a photo of the two brothers standing outside of their bakery & I have a coin token that they handed out, entitling a person to one free loaf of bread, worth 5¢.

I had both the photo & the coin framed together so that one could see both sides of the coin & included a letter from my father's cousin Ruth Ladd, describing the articles in a note that she wrote to my Dad in 1985.

I should be genetically gifted in the bread making department, right?


Unfortunately, I continue to struggle to create the perfect loaf.

I have fond memories of my Dad baking bread & rolls & the wonderful smells it created in the house. I can still see him shaping the little round blobs of dough as he squeezed them up between his thumb & first finger again & again, to make them smooth & perfect. He would then plop them into muffin tins & allow them to rise again. I can still vividly recall the taste of the first slice of warm bread slathered with real butter! Sheer Heaven!

I decided to try the easy way this time!

To honor our Olympic hosts this week, I tried the Lahey bread recipe on Canadian Sarah Galvin's blog, All Our Fingers in the Pie.

She calls it "Easy Peasy Bread" & it really is!
I'd been aware of Jim Lahey's
No-Knead method of making artisanal bread for awhile. I just hadn't tried it until now.

Isn't it pretty?
I ♥ this stage where its just ready
to pop into the oven.

Jim Lahey of The Sullivan Street Bakery Recipe:

3 Cups all-purpose or bread flour (I used bread flour)
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 5/8 Cups warm water

In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast & salt. Add 1 5/8 cups warm water & stir until blended. Dough will be shaggy & sticky.

Cover Bowl with plastic wrap. Let rest at least 12 hours, preferably 18, at warm room temperatures of about 70 degrees. Dough is ready when surface is dotted with bubbles.

Lightly flour a work surface & place dough on it; sprinkle with a little more flour & fold over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap & allow to rest for 15 mins.

Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to surface or your fingers, gently & quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel with flour or cornmeal & put dough seam side down on towel & dust with more flour or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel & let rise for about 2 hours.

Dough will be more than double in size & will not readily spring back when touched.

At least 30 mins before dough is ready, pre-heat oven to 450º. Put a 6-8 quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven, slide your hand under towel & turn dough over into pot, seam side up. Shake pan once or twice to evenly distribute the dough.

Cover with lid & bake 30 mins., then remove lid & bake another 15 to 30 mins, until loaf is browned. Cool on rack.
Makes one 1 1/2# loaf.


It turned out BEAUTIFULLY!
Very crispy crust & moist interior with lots of nooks & crannies for the butter to melt into.
Because its more like French bread it is not exactly the same as my Dad's but delicious, all the same. Thank you, Sarah, for the push to try it!

I did find that the crust softened a bit & wasn't as crisp & crunchy by the next day, but toasting brought it back quickly.

The bottom was also very difficult to cut through & I'm not sure why. Perhaps it was the amount of salt? I will continue to experiment once I get my Le Creuset pan clean again. That high heat really does a number on it!

If you try this method, be sure to take OFF the plastic knob that comes with the Le Creuset pan & replace it with a stainless steel one (around $8)
as the plastic one will melt at that high temperature.

Thanks for visiting & have a nice weekend!



  1. I can just smell that aroma now and wish I had a chunk of that bread!!!
    My sister has been trying for years to make yeast rolls but can't seem to master it!!! Got any tips??

  2. Your loaf of bread is beautiful, Rett. I didn't get the bread baking gene either and, as often as I bake bread, it just doesn't meet my expectations. Maybe someday. Sorry to read about your Le Creuset pot. I've had much success baking bread that way.

  3. Lovely post.

    And a gorgeous loaf of bread.

    You could also bake the bread on a stone and then you won't have to worry about cleaning the pot.

  4. Rett, there is nothing like the aroma of fresh baked bread. Your loaf is beautiful! My chef hasn't baked bread in some time. I think I need to talk to him about this. LOL Guess I should leave a copy of this recipe on the counter.
    Thanks for sharing this. I think your photos are great by the way!!!

  5. Glad this worked for you! Looks delicious! I don't know why your pan turned dark...that didn't happen to me. I love the heavy crust on this bread.

  6. Oh I just love home made bread and that is an art I have definitely not mastered at all. It fails every time. This just looks so wonderful, and I would definitely eat the whol loaf and about a pound of butter. Also, I wanted to let you know that I am taking over Table Top Tuesdays for Barb since her business has her way too busy right now. I so hope you will join us on Tuesdays. Hugs, Marty

  7. This bread looks to die for! Yes, add some butter and I'm in heaven. I love to bake breads, yeast rolls, etc.

    For those that have difficulty... the temperature of the liquid is important so it doesn't 'kill' the yeast...and always add a bit of sugar with the yeast. :-)

    Rett, I wish I were at your house right now! :-)


  8. I love homemade bread. There's nothing like that aroma as it bakes!! Yours looks perfect, Rett!

  9. Rett, I LOVE your blog! You are obviously a gifted cook and your tablescapes are magazine-worthy. I really enjoy my visits to The Gazebo the way, do you have a gazebo and will you be sharing views in future posts?
    Blessings to you and those you hold dear - Beth

  10. Rett, I have made this recipe and it is wonderful. So easy and so "artisanal". Thanks for posting it.

  11. It looks delicious, Rett.
    I do mine on a stone and have no pot to clean..and it works!

  12. I remember reading when this recipe was first published that people were stealing the knobs off Le Creuset pans at Williams Sonoma. I read on Catherine Newman's blog that she now bakes her no knead bread in a covered casserole dish as she was worried about what she was doing to her dutch oven.

    Your bread looks so good, I can almost hear the crust crackle as it cools. What a great way to conquer your bread baking challenges.


  13. OOOO, I'd love a slice of that beautiful bread. I enjoyed the story of your family bakery, and I love that you framed the mementos from the bakery. What a treasure that is. laurie

  14. No knead is my middle name (next to No Sifting). I'm making this,Rett. It looks ambrosial.


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