This is another party that I’m way late for: no-knead bread (and see below: no-knead pizza dough). But I’ve arrived now, and I’m double fisting drinks and dancing on the table until the rooster crows. I get why everyone was talking about it now. It’s easy! It’s good! It makes you feel like a pro!
The easy part is the clincher. While certainly no master baker, I have had the pleasure of making loaves by hand and getting my daily exercise requirement through what seemed like hours of kneading. The result of all that labour was certainly a sight to behold, and I was immensely proud that I had made that soft block of carbohydrates from which a heavenly aroma emanated. But that pride quickly changes to hunger and before you know it, you’re tearing it apart, the butter knife is heavy with salty goodness and… it’s gone. And your pride is just a memory. Until the next day. When your sore wrists and shoulders and back remind you of how much work you put into that block that’s no more.
So, let’s thank Jim Lahey of the Sullivan Street Bakery in New York City for giving us a way to still have pride, still eat fresh bread and yet do it all without any sore wrists or counter tops and floors covered in dusting flour. THANK YOU, JIM. This recipe is all about the, “If you’ve got the time, baby, you’ve got the bread” factor. A day. That’s all you need. Make the dough one night and you’ll have fresh bread for your dinner party the next. This is like a slow cooker method for bread. Set it and forget it.
When it comes out of the oven, you’ll feel no less pride because of the lack of elbow grease. Fresh loaves are things of beauty and should be lovingly caressed in the moments leading up to the first cut. YOU made that. You’re bringing the carbo-love today. Stand tall. Smile big. Feel proud.
In all seriousness, this recipe makes a fabulous and unique loaf of bread. It’s just the kind you want on a platter with meat and cheese or alongside some beef bourguignon leftovers or to make a grilled cheese with. It’s chewy and light, with a crust that’s less crackly than it looks. Make some.
And when you do, think of me heading to the Sullivan Street Bakery in New York City trying to thank Jim in person and ordering one of his famous Pizza Biancas while I wait to do so. ‘Cause big news readers: Cream is moving to the Big Apple! An incredible door has opened for me, and I’m going to walk right through. Get ready for much more documented eating and much less cooking. Hello, delivery.
Jim Lahey/Sullivan Street Bakery No-Knead Bread
Adapted from the Sullivan Street Bakery website
3 cups (430g) flour
1½ cups (345g or 12oz) water
¼ teaspoon (1g) yeast
1¼ teaspoon (8g) salt
olive oil (for coating)
extra flour, wheat bran, or cornmeal (for dusting)
Remove the dough from the bowl and fold once or twice. Or don’t. I found the dough MUCH too sticky to handle and skipped this step and went straight to the cotton towel the second time I made the bread to no ill effect. Let the dough rest 15 minutes in the bowl or on the work surface. Next, shape the dough into ball. Generously coat a cotton (not terry though) towel or large cotton cloth napkin with flour, wheat bran, or cornmeal; place the dough seam side down on the towel and dust with flour. Cover the dough with the cotton towel (or a second one if your first isn’t big enough) and let rise 1-2 hours at room temperature, until more than doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 450-500 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a 6-8 quart pot (Pyrex glass, cast iron or ceramic) in the oven at least 30 minutes prior to baking to preheat. Once the dough has more than doubled in volume, remove the pot from the oven and place the dough in the pot seam side up. Cover with the lid and bake 30 minutes Then remove the lid and bake 15-30 minutes uncovered, until the loaf is nicely browned.
Jim Lahey/Sullivan Street Bakery No-Knead Pizza Dough
Adapted from www.madebyfrances.com via New York Magazine
With the success of the bread behind me, I thought I would check out Jim’s pizza dough as well. Now, many of you may have seen that Bon Appetit just published a pizza dough recipe from him. It is different than this recipe that was published earlier. I shake my head at BA sometimes. A similar thing happened with the Momofuku Crack Pie. The BA version was different than earlier (and still authentic) versions. Why the difference? Who knows, but I’m sticking to versions that appear to be published before sexy BA tried to make them famous.
I’m not sure why I made pizza at home. It pales pales pales in comparison to pizza made in commercial ovens. I will argue with you over this until I lose my breath unless you can show me that your home oven reaches the 800-900 degrees necessary to make a good pie. Making a calzone at home is much better idea, in my opinion. It’s still not the same, but I think the result is much better than a pizza.
Makes 4, 10-inch pies or calzones
3 cups flour, more for dusting and light working of the dough
1/4 tsp. instant yeast
11/2 tsp. salt
11/4 cups water
Mix the flour, yeast, salt and water. Cover with plastic wrap or a non-terry cloth towel. Let the dough sit in a warm room for 12-24 hours. It will have doubled in size.
Plop the dough out onto a floured surface. Fold it over once or twice. Go for it, this dough is much less sticky. Let it rest for 15 minutes.
Divide the dough into 4 balls of equal size. Let the dough balls rise covered with a floured cloth for 2 hours. Once risen, they are ready to be made into pizzas.