I have heard about the No-Knead Bread craze and should have gotten on the bandwagon a long time ago but for some reason, I postponed and postponed. I was still scared of using yeast. However, I have wanted for the longest time to make homemade bread for the kiddos as I feel the store-bought ones are tasteless, not very fresh and often not very healthy. Besides, my kids love to have sandwiches for lunch so this finally motivated me to attempt making homemade bread.
Now this particular bread was originally meant to be a basic white bread loaf for their sandwiches. However, while we were handling the dough after kneading it in the mixer, I wasn't entirely sure it would form nicely into a long loaf. My kids wanted to help making this bread so I allowed them to do so. They helped punched the dough to remove the air pockets each one taking a turn. Below you can see my son's hand punching the dough. We were truly having fun doing this but then I started thinking, what if we had over-kneaded the dough? My fear on making yeast breads was creeping in again and I thought this bread would be a disaster. I then decided I should just make it into a round loaf and follow the baking techniques of using high heat for artisan breads. That might work, I thought.
I just tried my best to form the dough into a ball and carefully tucked the folds underneath. At this point I really didn't know what I was doing but I didn't want to throw the dough away. We allowed the dough to rise for another hour. At this point I wasn't even sure it would rise again. But after an hour or so it did! I carefully made a few slashes on top to give it that rustic look and then placed it in a preheated oven to bake and then prayed that everything would turn out fine. In the meantime, I fully breathed in the delicious aroma of the bread wafting into our tiny apartment as it baked.
After the required baking time was over, I was almost scared to look at it as I imagined it to be a disaster. But when I opened the oven I was greeted with a delicious looking bread and I almost couldn't believe my eyes. It came out so nicely!
Now, the next question is - what about the taste? Well, first of all we had to exercise self-control when the bread came out of the oven as we all wanted to have a piece of it as it looked so yummy! Finally, when the bread felt lukewarm already and I can no longer contain the kids' excitement, we took a slice....and then one more and another one and before we knew it....half of the bread was gone. It was truly delicious - a little crusty on the outside but tender on the inside! My boy especially loved it and made me promise to save him a piece or two for tomorrow.
Eventually, after a few more adjustments we baked it into a long loaf and this bread has been used to make sandwiches for the kids' lunch box a few times already. Recipe on this will come soon.
I am just glad that my first attempt at making bread didn't turn out to be a disaster. Surely, if I can make homemade bread anyone can. I know I need more practice and has a lot more to learn but I have started conquering my fear of making yeast bread and now I am quite enjoying it....and thankfully, my family, too.
Handy tools/equipment for making this bread:
Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer with dough hook
Baking Stone or Cast Iron Skillet
Metal or broiler pan
Easy Homemade Rustic BreadBy: Manila Spoon
May 1, 2015
An easy and delicious recipe for homemade rustic bread even for the most inexperienced baker.
- 3 1/2 cups bread Flour (or all purpose Flour)
- 1 cup Water
- 1/4 cup cold Milk
- 3 Tablespoons Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon dry Yeast
- 1 Egg Yolk
- 1/4 cup unsalted Butter, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons Salt
- Additional flour for dusting
- In the bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook attached, mix the flour, water, milk, sugar, yeast, egg yolk and butter on low speed for 3 minutes. Continue to knead at low speed for another 12 minutes while slowly adding the salt.
- While the machine is running, sprinkle a big bowl with flour and set aside. When the kneading time is up, transfer the dough to the floured bowl and cover with a plastic wrap. Let rest for 2 hours. The dough should rise really well and double in size.
- Place the risen dough in a floured surface (or a floured parchment paper for easier transfer later) and punch with the palm of your hand to remove air pockets. Form the dough into a ball tucking the ends underneath. Don't worry all the loose ends will come together during resting and baking.
- Let it rise for another hour. Preheat the oven to 450 F for 20 minutes and place either a baking/pizza stone or a cast-iron skillet on the middle rack and an empty metal tray (like a broiler tray) on the lowest rack. The baking stone and empty metal tray should be in the oven while it is heating up.
- Dust the top of the dough liberally with flour and make a few slashes about 1/2-inch-deep using a sharp knife. You can make your own pattern.
- When the 20 minutes is over, carefully slide the dough to the preheated skillet or baking stone. Pour 1 cup of hot water (I just got some from the tap) into the broiler tray and quickly close the oven door to trap the steam.
- Bake for about 30 minutes or until the crust is brown and firm to the touch. Let the bread cool completely on a wire rack before slicing. Enjoy with a spread of butter or use this for making the perfect sandwiches.
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cooking Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes
Recipe adapted from Artisan Breads and Pastries by Avner Laskin.
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