[UPDATE: I have added lots of photos of the No-Knead Bread method here.]
In case you are wondering, I am still making the no-knead bread, about 4 loaves per week. I had a week when I was out of town and had to eat some grocery bread when I returned home until I could bake a loaf. What a difference. Grocery bread is just a vehicle for getting the meat/cheese and the rest of the sandwich fixin’s into your mouth. Homemade bread is something else, entirely. It is the excuse for making a sandwich.
I have been experimenting with different kinds of flour, rising times, rising methods. I tried for a few weeks letting the dough rise for the second time in an oiled bowl. It was fine. As I have said before, you can’t really ruin it. Today, I went back to the original directions and after about 18 hours for the first rising, I formed the loaf and let it rise on nonstick foil for 2 hours and then baked it at 460 degrees for 30 minutes, covered, and another 15 minutes uncovered. I also used 1 c. unbleached bread flour and 2 c. regular all-purpose flour. With 2 t. salt, 1/2 t. yeast, a pinch of citric acid, it is delicious. I did sprinkle it with a seed mixture and some kosher salt just before baking it. It is very good. In fact, it’s hard to keep away from it. Because I am trying to stay away from a lot of carbohydrates, it is extremely difficult to make such good bread and not eat it constantly throughout the day.
I think that the best flavor is achieved with regular all-purpose flour and unbleached bread flour combined. I have tried the special artisan flours and can’t really say that it is an improvement. It certainly is cheaper.
If you need the recipe for the bread, it is as follows:
3 c. flour (all-purpose or bread flour or a combination)
1/4 t. – 1/2 t. quick yeast
2 t. salt
pinch (1/8 t.) citric acid (optional)
1 5/8 c. water
Kosher salt (optional)
Bread seed toppion (optional)
Mix together, cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place (on the kitchen counter is fine) for at least 12 hours and up to 18.
Scrape out of bowl onto a floured surface. Fold over once or twice, cover with the plastic wrap and let it rest for 15 minutes.
Set out a piece of non-stick foil and sprinkle a little flour over it. Pick up the dough (a dough scraper or spatula makes it easier) and reform the loaf somewhat and set it on the foil. Sprinkle the top with a little flour and lay a kitchen towel (not terry cloth) over it and let it rise for 2 hours.
After 1 1/2 hour, preheat the oven to 460 degrees with a covered heat proof casserole (I use a 3 qt. Corningware ceramic pot with a lid) for 30 minutes. Remove the casserole from the oven carefully and drop the loaf into it. Sprinkle the top with a seed mixture if desired and/or kosher salt (optional).
Bake covered for 30 minutes, uncover and bake for 15 minutes more. Remove from oven and the pot and let the loaf cool on a rack. Sometimes I brush it with melted butter. It will keep for a day or two.