Ever since I got this recipe for no-knead bread from my neighbor last Christmas I have been making it. Recently I started varying the recipe in hopes of making this delightful bread a little less white and a little more whole, as in whole in grains. As our household is starting to explore whole grains, both in cooking and in the garden, we are trying to be more creative with what we use and how.
Whole grains are not exciting to most people, but in fact they should be. I think that a lot of people think of wheat bread when they think grains. They think brown and dry. But with proper preparation, whole grains can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. As of late we have implemented “whole grain of the week.”
With the luxury of the Bob’s Red Mill mill being here in town we have unlimited access to some of the best whole grains around. The mill has all of the prepackaged products available in the bulk bins so we have been trying out some unique items like sorghum flour and amaranth flour. This week we had wheat berry week, but I also tried out this 10 Grain Flour from Bob’s to see if I could successfully integrate it into this no-knead recipe.
I was nervous since I started this bread on Sunday, but was pleasantly surprised on Tuesday when I finally got to try it!
This recipe is adapted from the one published by the New York Times in 2006. Don’t be discouraged by how long this post is, most of it is just me telling you too much information. The actual time involved with touching the bread is minimal.
2 C unbleached white flour
2 C 10 Grain Flour
1.5 C water + a little more if the bread is dry
1/4 t yeast
1 1/4 t kosher salt
Combine 1 cup white flour and all of the 10 grain flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add 1.5 cups of water and mix well. The dough should be fairly loose and sticky. If you think it is too tight or dry, add more water.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a room temperature location for 18-24 hours. I usually do this in the evening one night so it is ready to bake the next night. But keep in mind you will need 3 hours for prep and baking so start early!
After resting the dough for the allotted time flour a large cutting board or baking sheet with the 3/4 cups of the remaining flour. I have found the best way to do this is to dump it in the middle and use a spoon or measuring cup to spread it out evenly. I have also found that the key is to keep at last 1/8 inch of flour on all surfaces. Keep the extra 1/4 cup of flour close as you will need it for your hands and spatula.
Using a rubber spatula scrape the dough into the middle of your work surface. Fold the dough onto its self a few times. You will need to keep your hands floured as this stuff is sticky! Quickly pull the dough into a ball and place on the fully floured surface, seam side down (if you make pizza dough, think of that process, just be more gentle).
Make sure the work surface is fully floured as the dough is going to spread. Also make sure the dough is well floured on top and cover with a dish towel (not terrycloth). Allow the dough to sit for two hours. After 1.5 hours start the oven. Preheat the oven and a 2-3 quart stock pot with lid to 450. I don’t like to go bigger than 3 quart or the bread is too flat.
At the two hour mark dump the dough into the pot. To avoid too much flour going with the dough I have tried to use a pastry or BBQ brush to remove some of the surrounding flour, but you really don’t have to, it will brush off later.
Bake dough in covered pot for 30 minutes. Remove lid and cook 20 minutes longer. Allow to cool completely on wire rack. If you are going to store it overnight, just wrap it in a dishtowel. The last step is key. Because the bread has so much flour on it you will want to remove the excess. I do this with a not-so-creative dishtowel beating method (hit the bread with a dishtowel until all loose flour has fallen off). The only thing to know before you starting beating your bread is that the flour is going to fly everywhere. Because of this I suggest using one of the two following methods. 1. beat the bread outside. 2. cover the counter with bath towels. Commence beating and the final product will look like the loaf below!