This icy, freezing weather means many of us are stuck at home today.
When I’m “snowed” in, I get the urge to bake. Sometimes cookies or cakes, but usually bread. I’ve blogged plenty of times about my favorite no-knead bread recipes, but I’ve never showed you how I make it, which is why I’m doing a livestream from home today to show off Alexandra Stafford’s buttery (and fast) no-knead bread recipe.
Jim Leahy’s is my other go-to recipe. It calls for letting the dough rise for 12-18 hours, so I make that one when I start the bread late at night or early in the morning before work. Alexandra’s recipe, which calls for a 1-hour rise, is better for when you want to bake the bread within two hours of first measuring the flour, salt and yeast.
I’d love to see what you’re cooking on this snow day! Add #Austin360Cooks to your posts on social media.
The Peasant Bread Master Recipe
Here it is: The no-knead bread recipe my mother has been making for 40 years, the one she taught me to make 20 years ago, the recipe I published on my blog in 2012, the recipe that inspired the creation of every recipe that follows in this book. This formula is simple — 4 cups flour, 2 cups water, 2 teaspoons each salt and sugar, and 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast — and can be adapted in countless ways. Make it once as described below, then tailor it to your liking.
— Alexandra Stafford
4 cups (512 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
2 cups lukewarm water
Softened unsalted butter, for greasing
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, sugar and instant yeast. Add the water. Using a rubber spatula, mix until the water is absorbed and the ingredients form a sticky dough ball.
Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap and set aside in a warm spot to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until the dough has doubled in bulk.
Set a rack in the middle of the oven and heat it to 425 degrees. Grease two 1-quart oven-safe bowls with the softened butter — be generous. Using two forks, deflate the dough by releasing it from the sides of the bowl and pulling it toward the center. Rotate the bowl quarter-turns as you deflate, turning the mass into a rough ball.
Using your two forks and, working from the center out, separate the dough into two equal pieces. Use the forks to lift each half of the dough into a prepared bowl. If the dough is too wet to transfer with forks, lightly grease your hands with butter or oil, then transfer each half to a bowl. Do not cover the bowls. Let the dough rise on the countertop near the oven (or another warm, draft-free spot) for 10 to 20 minutes, until the top of the dough just crowns the rims of the bowls.
Transfer the bowls to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake for 17 to 20 minutes more, until evenly golden all around. Remove the bowls from the oven and turn the loaves out onto cooling racks. If the loaves look pale, return them to their bowls and bake for 5 minutes longer. Let the loaves cool for 15 minutes before cutting. Makes two 14-ounce loaves.
— From “Bread Toast Crumbs: Recipes for No-Knead Loaves & Meals to Savor Every Slice” by Alexandra Stafford (Clarkson Potter, $30)