Sunday, 2 November 2008

Almost No-Knead Bread

I wanted to make bread this weekend. I have a great recipe for semolina bread rolls which are very yummy and I was planning on making them. I had some troubles finding semolina though. I checked all sorts of places, from supermarkets to delis, and no one had any. The last time I went looking for semolina I don't remember it being this elusive. I ended up making a special trip to Pennisi's and got all excited when I snagged the last packet in the Mexican section. I paid for it, and then walked out of the store, past where they keep all the flours and stuff where there were at least 4 different types of semolina in good supply that I could have chosen. Oh well, I know for next time.

Anyway, none of that really matters because when I got home and checked my email I found an America's Test Kitchen or Cooks Illustrated newsletter where they talked about this Almost No-Knead Bread. The recipe has a video! I watched the video and it looked easy so my semolina rolls went out the window and I decided to give this one a try.

It turned out really well, it's light and soft with a nice chewy texture and an open crumb. The crust is just slightly crispy, almost more on the chewy side. I have to say that I don't mind, really crusty breads are not my cup of tea. The flavour is really nice and complex. If I had to be critical, I'd say that it is a real pain in the backside to cut and I think it's just a tad on the chewy side. I'm not going to be critical though, because this is the most bread-like any bread I've made from scratch has turned out and I'm proud of it.

Almost No-Knead Bread
from Cooks Illustrated Magazine

3 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting work surfact
1/4 tsp instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 tsp table salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tbs water, at room temperature
1/4 cup plus 2 tbs mild flavoured lager
1 tbs white vinegar

Whisk flour, yeast, and salt in large bowl. Add water, beer, and vinegar. Using rubber spatula, fold mixture, scraping up dry flour from bottom of bowl until shaggy ball forms.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 18 hours.

Lay 12- by 18-inch sheet of parchment paper inside 10-inch skillet and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead 10 to 15 times. Shape dough into ball by pulling edges into middle. Transfer dough, seam-side down, to parchment-lined skillet and spray surface of dough with nonstick cooking spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until dough has doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with finger, about 2 hours.

About 30 minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place 6- to 8-quart heavy-bottomed Dutch oven (with lid) on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Lightly flour top of dough and, using razor blade or sharp knife, make one 6-inch-long, 1/2-inch-deep slit along top of dough. Carefully remove pot from oven and remove lid. Pick up dough by lifting parchment overhang and lower into pot (let any excess parchment hang over pot edge). Cover pot and place in oven. Reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue to bake until loaf is deep brown and instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 210 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Carefully remove bread from pot; transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.


  1. bread looks awesome. The other place to get semolina is mick's nuts at west end.

  2. I tracked down some delicious semolina at Adam's Contintental Smallgoods out at Carole park. It's produced by the Bellata Gold, the people who make the great pasta. You can buy either durum wheat flour or durum wheat semolina - the flour makes an incredibly delicious loaf of bread. I haven't seen the Bellata gold flour anywhere else, but I'm sure if you gave them a call they'd be able to tell you if anyone slightly closer than Adam's stocks it!