no knead bread on a workday schedule

This next comment may make you wonder how I managed to own a business without going bankrupt: it took me almost a year in California to conclude that I need to reduce the amount of money I spend month to month.  This funny thing happens when you double your living expenses (hello, Bay Area folks!) – you have less money left at the end of the month.  Or none.  Or you dip into your savings.

All this to say, I’m on a budget now.  And surprise surprise, turns out I spend an awful lot of money on food.  Groceries.  Restaurants.  That 80% chocolate I just had to have.  You know the drill.  My current goal is to spend $50 per week on groceries, and $200 per month eating out.  Compared to most Americans, especially anyone who relies on SNAP benefits, I know this is laughably generous.  But, it’s required some planning and creativity to stay within the lines, especially for groceries.

One thing I’ve started doing again is baking bread.  Around these parts, a decent loaf of bread will cost you $4-5 easy in the East Bay, and upwards of $7 in San Francisco, whereas  five pounds of bread flour runs you about $4.50.  Simple math.

Budget or no budget, this bread is worth making just to pull a little piece of heaven out of your oven.  The no knead revolution has taken the kitchens across the internet by swarm, and mine is no exception.  It’s a whole new world of home-baked bread – bread with incredible flavor, crisp crust, and open chewy crumb.  Best of all, there’s almost no active time at all – dump all the ingredients in a bowl, throw a towel over them and walk away for 8-10 hours, form a ball, let it rise 2 hours, and bake it!

The recipe here is adapted from Food 52 – I revised the recipe slightly to work for a typical work day; mix the dough in the morning, shape it after work, and bake it around 7 or 8 pm.  By all means though, you can do this on the weekend too.  Jen and I have made quite a few variations lately, and I included our favorites below – the original country loaf with some fun optional add-ins (olives, roasted garlic or walnuts); a honey grain recipe; and a polenta, caramelized onion, and rosemary loaf we made and loved this past weekend.  (Photos in this post are the honey grain and the polenta, caramelized onion, and rosemary.)

Recipes are in grams (really so much easier and accurate for baking!) – See here for information on scales.

No Knead Country Loaf

  • 400g bread flour
  • 8g salt
  • 2g dry yeast
  • 300g warm water (55-65 degrees)
  • cornmeal and extra flour for dusting

Optional Mix-Ins:

  • 1/2 cup chopped olives or 
  • 2 heads of roasted garlic, squeezed out (cut the tops of the garlic heads to expose the cloves, drizzle with olive oil and wrap in tin foil.  Roast at 400 degrees until soft and caramelized, about 1 hour.) or
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts

No Knead Honey Grain Loaf

  • 250g bread flour
  • 50g whole wheat flour
  • 50g rye flour
  • 50g quick oats (or rolled oats that have been pulsed in a spice grinder a few times)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 8g salt
  • 2g dry yeast
  • 300g warm water (55-65 degrees)
  • cornmeal and extra flour for dusting

No Knead Polenta, Rosemary, and Caramelized Onion Loaf 

  • 1 large yellow onion, diced and caramelized (saute the onion over medium heat in 2 tbsp olive oil until softened and aromatic.  Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking until the onion is golden and caramelized.  Remove from the heat and cool.)
  • 350g bread flour
  • 50g polenta (cornmeal)
  • 8g salt
  • 2g dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary 
  • extra cornmeal and flour for dusting 

7:30-8:30am:

For any loaf, combine all ingredients (except cornmeal/dusting flour) in a large mixing bowl. Mix until well combined – add the mix-ins if using.  The dough will look fairly stringy and shaggy.  Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and let sit on the kitchen counter all day (8-10 hours.)  

5:30-6:30pm:

Generously (really generous!) flour a clean tea towel (not terry towel – you don’t want any fuzzies in your bread!) Working on a well floured surface, shape the dough into a round – I usually just do this right on the towel.  The key is not to handle the dough too much – shoot for rustic!.  Place the round on the floured tea towel and sprinkle with a little more flour.  Wrap the dough in the towel loosely and leave to rise 1-2 hours.

6:30-7:30pm:

In the last 30 minutes of the rise, Preheat the oven to 475 degrees and place a dutch oven (or any heavy, deep, oven safe dish) in to heat up – this creates your own mini radiant heat brick oven type situation and gives you that incredible crust.

7:00-8:00pm:

Remove the dutch oven from the oven and sprinkle lightly with cornmeal.  Carefully transfer the ball of dough to the dutch oven, using the towel – don’t worry if it stick a bit, just pull it off gently.  cover with a lid and bake 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake an additional  10 minutes until golden brown.  Cool slightly.

8:00-9:00pm:

Enjoy a hot slice with some salted butter!

Comments
  1. So thankful for this recipe!

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