I do not think I have any new information to add to the ‘no knead bread craze’ that’s spreading faster then a virus, be it real or virtual. But yes, I had to try it too and I had to show you the result of my first effort. And I can only concur with the general sentiments about this bread. It’s fantastic! The texture, the taste, the smell, it’s all good. I have made bread with biga’s and polishes but the intense flavor of this bread is truly remarkable. Although I do not detest kneading dough at all (with a bit of help from my trusty KitchenAid), this bread proofs there’s no reason for hard work. All you need is time.
I stuck to the recipe as published in the New York Post. I was very patient with the dough. The last rise took 4 hours instead of 2, because I really wanted to let it double in size and my kitchen was not that warm. For the baking process I used my ‘La Cloche Brick-Style Bread Oven’. You preheat the oven with the cloche inside and when warm you place the dough in the cloche and then back in the oven. The lid traps moisture rising from the dough and creates the steam that produces a crackly crust and a moist, tender interior. Only thing is, your oven has to be big enough to fit in the cloche. It fits perfect in the oven of my Boretti cooker. But it takes forever to get this oven hot. 45 minutes is nothing, and on opening the oven door, away goes a lot of the heat. It’s not ideal, but with this ‘oven in an oven concoction’ it works.
So from my own experience I can truthfully say: bread lover bake this bread, you will not be disappointed! What I would really like to do is go to New York and attend one of Jim Lahey’s enormously popular baking classes…
As posted in New York Times
November 8 – 2006
Adapted from Jim Lahey,
Sullivan Street Bakery
533 West 47th street