I love to cook. And bake. But more than that I love to break bread and talk about food with likeminded people. So, I thought I would bring some of that sharing to In Good Taste with a few guest posts to liven things up a little. I’ve baked my share of bread but when I connected with a fellow twenty-something foodie who had found the perfect no-knead bread recipe — well, we just couldn’t keep that a secret now, could we?
Guest blog post by Esther Reisinger
It has been said that man cannot live by bread alone. Obviously, that was said before I was born.
Let me explain: I eat the crust part of a piece of pizza. And I love it. I get kind of sad when I see rejected crusts on a plate. The bread basket at a restaurant always puts me at risk of being too full for my main course. Especially if thereʼs some sort of ﬂavored butter. You know how some people remove the top bun of their burger or sandwich and just eat the sandwich open-faced to reduce carbs, or something like that (a foreign concept to me)? The other night, I deconstructed my half-eaten pulled pork sandwich and ate the bun alone, leaving the rest of the sandwich exposed (mind you, it was a brioche bun, so I think I get a free pass one this one).
Usually, when Iʼm so obsessed with something, I try to ﬁgure out a way to make it at home (Usually, it doesnʼt happen. But at least I think about it). However, making bread at home can seem like a daunting task. It calls to mind days long gone by and conjures images of bonnet-wearing women and daughters endlessly kneading masses of dough by candlelight.
After that era, as the world became more advanced and modern, I think America wanted to depart from these time-consuming processes of their great-great grandparents. The opportunity to have the food they wanted with little to no effort on their part was inﬁnitely more appealing than spending hours in the kitchen. So, homemade bread? Forgetaboutit.
Fast forward to the present, and it seems almost as if weʼve come full circle. As a society, our health-consciousness has increased, and with it our desire to labor in the kitchen once again. Itʼs all about making food from scratch. Itʼs better for you.
So now, people (me) are discovering that making your own bread doesnʼt have to be painful or scary at all. I was delighted to ﬁnd this super easy recipe that is perfect for lazy carb-lovers such as myself. And guess what: thereʼs no need to knead!
This bread is so versatile and delicious. Itʼs simultaneously chewy and sturdy (holds up well to a lot of things) without being too dense. I can think of so many ways to enjoy it. The actual active prep time for this recipe is incredibly minimal. It does however take at least a day of inactive prep as it sits in the refrigerator. The awesome part is that it can sit in the fridge for up to 7 days, and you can just pull off however much you want to bake at a time. This recipe makes about three good sized loaves. (I always halve the recipe since Iʼm only cooking for two, and I get two medium-sized loaves.)
No-Knead Refrigerator Bread
Recipe and photo from Kelly Dean Yandell, The Meaning of Pie
What You Need:
6½ cups all-purpose or bread flour
1 tablespoon table salt
2 (1/4 oz. each) packages of fast-acting dry yeast (like Red Star)
3 cups lukewarm water
Make the dough:
Using the scoop and scrape method (scoop your measure into the ﬂour container and scrape off the excess with the ﬂat side of a knife), measure the ﬂour into a 6 quart food safe container that will fit into your refrigerator (with a tight lid).
Add the remaining dry ingredients into the ﬂour and stir them around to combine. Then add the water and stir quickly with a wooden spoon for about 30 seconds until all of the ﬂour is moistened and a sticky dough has formed. Now, leave the container out in a warm place to rise for two hours. It should double in volume, approximately. Once the dough has risen for two hours, put on the lid and put the container in the refrigerator for a minimum of one day, and up to seven days.
Bake the bread:
When you want to bake a loaf of bread, take out the container and simply remove as much dough as you want to use, roughly a quarter or a third. Put the rest back in the refrigerator.
Gently form the dough into a ball or a slightly elongated log and place it onto a baking sheet covered with parchment and sprinkled with a little ﬂour. Allow this to rise for 45 minutes or up to an hour. It will inﬂate a little and spread. Use a very sharp knife to cut three slits in the top, about a half of an inch deep.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Carefully place a small pie pan, or other smallish pan, of hot water in the bottom rack of the oven (this is for steam). Then place the dough in the oven and bake for approximately 25 minutes until it is a deep golden to brown color. Remove the bread from the oven and cool on a rack.
(For safetyʼs sake, you may want to wait for the oven to cool before removing the pan of water.)
Food for thought: If you want to spice things up a bit, you can try adding some fresh herbs to the dough (rosemary, perhaps?) or cheese (sign me up). Add your herbs or cheese to the section of dough that you are baking at the time, fold it over on itself a few times, and bake! I have not yet tried one of these variations from the basic dough, but you can be sure Iʼm going to next time! Let me know if you do, and how it turns out!
- Top with hummus and cucumber slices.
- Slather on goat cheese, top with some roasted red peppers, then put that goodness in the broiler for a few.
- Toast it, mascarpone it, and raspberry jam it.
- Create an herbed olive oil dip for it, or a parmesan + olive oil dip.
- Of course the most obvious, simplest, and probably the best way: toast it, add butter and honey.
Esther Reisinger is a 20-something girl dining her way through Chicago and beyond. Her number one passion is exploring her city’s offerings as well as researching and discovering new food to create and experience in her own kitchen. Esther’s love for food is accompanied by a strong desire to travel the world and experience other cultures and cuisines. As a new home cook and budding foodie, she is excited to learn and share her discoveries with others on her own blog The Swell Quenelle.