Brotzeit and No-Knead Bread

by heikes3

And now that I have told a few people about this page, I will actually put more on here. It is not that I stopped baking and cooking, but kids, school and just stuff kept me from giving this blog real consideration. Well, no, I don’t really have sooo much more time, but I am willing to cut some out here and there, as we are diving into our own culinary adventure (more later).

After coming back from Germany, colder temperatures there, I am back in the Georgia heat.

Gosh, it’s hot here, but it gives me the excuse for lots of “Brotzeit” dinners.

Brotzeit translate directly into bread time. Unfortunately, this brings me to bake bread – inside, heating up the kitchen 😦  but the smell of fresh baked bread in every corner of the house is intoxicating and makes this well worth it. We have yet to build a woodfire oven outside … not a bad idea, indeed!

Now, fill the table with different salads – tomato, carrot, green salad, cucumber – olives, cold cuts, cheeses, spreads, etc. really, whatever you fancy! Start nibbling, filling your plate and topping your bread with whatever you like.

One of my favorite breads for this is a King Arthur classic. I know the no-kneading part kind of takes the fun out of baking bread, but trust me, just make another bread you can take your energy out on ;-), try this and enjoy!  I have adapted it a bit, as I do with every recipe:

No-Knead Bread

5 cups (22 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 2/3 cups (22 ounces) cool water

First, decide on a timeframe. The dough is stirred together; rests for 10 hours; is put into the crock; rises for 2 hours, and bakes for 45 minutes. So that’s just under 13 hours. It’s a good weekend bread; stir it together Friday night at about 10 p.m.; scoop it into the crock about 8 a.m. Saturday; bake about 10 a.m., and your bread will be baked, cooled, and ready to slice for sandwiches by noon. Or get up early on Saturday to stir up the dough at 6 a.m.; put it into the crock at 4 p.m.; bake at 6 p.m., and serve fresh and hot from the oven at 7 p.m.

Next, select your crock. Ceramic/stoneware, cast iron, or glass all work; the key is that the crock must have a lid. A Dutch oven is a good choice. The crock we used for this recipe is a 4 1/4-quart capacity, 9 ½”-diameter, 4″-deep round stoneware crock with lid. See if you can find something of a similar shape; baking times will be affected if the crock is shallower/wider, or narrower/deeper.

Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl, large enough for the dough to double in size. Stir to combine. At first the dough will stick to the spoon and follow it around the bowl. But once all the flour is completely absorbed (after about 10 seconds of vigorous stirring), the dough will become softer and stick to the sides of the bowl. That’s it; you’re done stirring. Cover the bowl, and set it aside to rest at cool room temperature for 10 hours. If it’s very hot and humid, leave it in the cellar, or in an air-conditioned room; someplace that’s about 68°F to 70°F is ideal.

After 10 hours, the dough should be very bubbly, and will have risen quite a bit. Grease your chosen crock with non-stick vegetable oil spray, and then rub with a bit of olive oil, for flavor. Be sure it’s well-greased; the last thing you want is for the baked bread to stick in the crock. Gently stir the dough down; this redistributes the yeast, giving it new life. Scoop the dough into the greased crock. Place the lid on the crock, and let the dough rise for 2 hours at cool room temperature. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 450°F.

Peek at the dough before putting it in the oven; it should be very bubbly, and nicely risen. If you don’t think it’s risen enough, give it some more time. If it rose too much, then fell, bake it anyway; it’ll be dense, but chewy and flavorful. Note that the bread won’t rise any farther, once it’s in the oven; what you see is what you get. It also won’t dome, but instead will form a flat top surface.

Bake the bread for 45 minutes with the lid on. Remove the lid and bake for an additional 4 to 5 minutes, till the top is a deep, golden brown. Remove the crock from the oven, and turn the bread out onto a rack to cool. PLEASE don’t slice into it till it’s just barely warm; slicing hot bread makes it irretrievably gummy. When fresh, the bread’s crust is crisp, and the interior chewy; as it rests, the crust will gradually become chewy, as well. If desired, refresh slices in a toaster; or wrap gently in foil, and warm for 5 to 10 minutes in a preheated 350°F oven.
Yield: one round loaf.


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