Neapolitans, not Napoleons, one-bite Blueberry Pie and Caramel Sauce while sporting a new Ugandan Youth Center produced apron Neil picked up for me on his trip to Africa last month, made for a good week in the bakery (not to mention the sandwich and NY rye breads… which I did just mention, didn’t I? Sorry ’bout that.)
The Neapolitans are chocolate cookie based with a white cheesecake center and raspberry buttercream frosting, cut into 1” squares. Next time, I need to keep any skin from forming on the cheesecake. It kept the frosting from adhering properly.
The Blueberry Bites should be dusted with some coarse sugar after being egg washed to add some sweetness and shine. The caramelized sugar should add both. I may add a little lemon zest for a little tang.
The Caramel Sauce will be used later for a Peanut Butter/Caramel/Salted Chocolate petit four, but I had the time and it will keep in the fridge for a longtime so why not? The rest of the dessert will come later this week.
NEAPOLITAN CHEESECAKE COOKIES
INGREDIENTS (Half Recipe)
- 1 cup butter, softened (1/2)
- 2 cups white sugar (1)
- 2 eggs (1)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (1)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (1)
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (6 Tbl)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda (1/2)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (1/4)
- 16 oz Cream Cheese
- 2 Eggs
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 1/2 cup softened Butter
- 6 cups Powdered Sugar
- 1/2 cup Strawberry Preserves (optional)
- 4-5 drops Red Food Coloring
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Line a 13×15” pan and set aside. Be sure the paper extends over the sides of the pan.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.
- Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the creamed mixture.
- Bake for 12 to 16 minutes in the preheated oven, until top of cookies are completely set.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes.
- Cream together cream cheese, sugar and eggs until well blended.
- Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over brownie layer.
- Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until cheesecake layer is set. 1st try took 25 min
- Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 30 minutes until top is no longer warm to the touch.
- Beat butter (and strawberry preserves if using) while slowly add in powdered sugar.
- Add in food coloring to achieve pink color, then whip to get uniform color.
- Frost cheesecake layer by spreading frosting with a spatula to completely cover.
- Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.
BLUEBERRY PIE BITES
- 1 refrigerated pie crust
- about 45 blueberries
- 2 Tbl raw or turbinado sugar
- 1 egg + 1 teaspoon water (egg wash)
- Special Equipment Required:
- 1½” biscuit cutter
- pastry brush
- Preheat the oven to 450. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a pan with an edge so the pie bites don’t roll away when you place them in the oven.
- Lightly flour a clean work surface and unroll the refrigerated pie crust.
- Use a 1½” biscuit cutter to cut all your little pie bite circles out of the refrigerated pie crust.
- Place 1 blueberry in the center of each circle. Sprinkle each one with a little sugar (you probably won’t use all the sugar).
- Fold up two sides of one of the circles like a taco. The grab the adjacent sides and pinch the corners. This makes a little pocket for the blueberries. You can dip your fingers in egg wash to pinch the corners if you can’t get them to stick.
- Brush each bite with the egg wash. Place each bite on the prepared baking sheet.
- Sprinkle with a little more sugar and bake for about 10 minutes.
16 Servings, Prep Time: 10 Minutes, Cook Time: 15 Minutes
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 pinch salt
- Bring the water, sugar, and butter to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Do not stir the mixture until the sugar has completely dissolved in the water. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the caramel has turned golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Carefully pour in a slow, steady stream of cream into the caramel while stirring constantly. The hot caramel will boil vigorously when the cream is added and solidify in areas. Add the vanilla extract and salt. Continue stirring over low heat until the caramel is smooth and creamy, 5 to 10 minutes more. Allow to cool for at least half an hour before using.
(a Cinnamon Star Bread that is,) “Makes no difference who you are.”
I saw this recipe on KAF as part of their CINNAMON STAR BREAD BAKEALONG: CHALLENGE #16. These are fun ways to improve and augment anyones baking skills, no matter who you are, plus they result in a delicious product (when executed properly.)
- 2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- ¼ cup potato flour
- ¼ cup nonfat dry milk
- ¾ cup + 2 to 4 tablespoons lukewarm water, enough to make a soft, smooth dough
- ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg, beaten
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- First, measure the flour by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Next, sift the flour, potato flour, and dry milk through a strainer; this is an important step to prevent lumps in the dough. (If you’re using instant mashed potatoes rather than potato flour you can skip this sifting step.)
- To make the dough: Combine all of the dough ingredients and mix and knead —I use a mixer and dough hook — to make a soft, smooth dough.
- Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let it rise for 60 minutes, until it’s nearly doubled in bulk.
- Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, cover the balls, and allow them to rest for 15 minutes.
- On a lightly greased or floured work surface, roll one piece of dough into a 10″ circle. Place the circle on a piece of parchment, brush a thin coat of beaten egg on the surface, then evenly sprinkle with 1/3 of the cinnamon-sugar, leaving 1/4″ of bare dough around the perimeter.
- Roll out a second circle the same size as the first, and place it on top of the filling-covered circle. Repeat the layering process — egg, cinnamon sugar, dough circle — leaving the top circle bare.
- Place a 2 1/2″ to 3″ round cutter in the center of the dough circle as a guide. I used a 3/4 cup measuring cup and scored the center of the top ring. With a bench knife or sharp knife, cut the circle into 16 equal strips, from the cutter to the edge, through all the layers.
Rolled and Dusted Dough
Half Twisted Dough
Twisted Dough before Baking
- Using two hands, pick up two adjacent strips and twist them away from each other twice so that the top side is facing up again. Repeat with the remaining strips of dough so that you end up with eight pairs of strips.
- Pinch the pairs of strips together to create a star-like shape with eight points. Be sure the ends are well pinched or they will separate.
- Transfer the star on the parchment to a baking sheet. Cover the star and let it rise until it becomes noticeably puffy, about 45 minutes.
- While the star is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Brush the star with a thin coat of the beaten egg. Bake it for 12 to 15 minutes, until it’s nicely golden with dark brown cinnamon streaks; the center should register 200°F on a digital thermometer.
- Remove the loaf from the oven and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve warm or at room temperature.
- Store any leftover bread, well wrapped in plastic, at room temperature for several days. Freeze for longer storage.
Well maybe not scarlet, but not dark brown either. I slowly bought all the ingredients (or so I thought) to make a pumpernickel boule. KAF had a recipe I liked and ordered all the odd ingredients (or so I thought) to make it on my Wednesday “me day.” Somehow I missed it was supposed to be “White Whole Wheat Flour,” well, I had normal off-white whole wheat flour and it would have to do. I did buy the Deli Rye Flavor and the “Vital Wheat Gluten.” I forgot the Pumpernickel Artisan Bread Flavor is currently out of stock at KAF and is only on my wish list. With inspir/desperation, I removed 1//2 cup of the specified flours, added 1/2 cup pumpernickel flour, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. According to comments on the KAF recipe omitting the Pumpernickel Artisan Bread Flavor will cause the bread to be a lighter color than the expected (and desired) chocolate/coffee/pumpernickel brown. It is, in fact, a good rye bread color. Actually, the taste was pretty darned ok also.
- 4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1 cup King Arthur Unbleached White Whole Wheat Flour
- 1/2 cup Pumpernickel Artisan Bread Flavor
- 2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten, recommended to prevent a collapsed loaf
- 1/2 teaspoon Deli Rye Flavor, optional, for more assertive rye flavor
- 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 2 cups lukewarm water
- Combine all of the ingredients and mix and knead — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — until the dough is elastic and slightly sticky.
- Let the dough rise in a lightly greased, covered bowl for 1 to 2 hours; it should become puffy.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled surface. Gently deflate it, and shape it into a ball.
- Place the shaped loaf into a round brotform covered with a flour dusted liner.
- Let the loaf rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until it’s almost doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F with the stoneware baker (e.g., Emile Henry) inside to pre-heat it.
- Spray the bottom of the stoneware baker with olive oil and carefully tip the loaf into it. The loaf will deflate slightly, so be careful.
- Slash the loaf diagonally in several places, and cover with the lid. .
- Bake the loaf for 30 to 40 minutes, remove the lid, and bake for another 5 minutes; the bread will be dark. When done, it’ll be crusty, and a digital thermometer inserted into the center will read 190°F to 200°F.
- Remove the bread from the oven, and transfer it to a rack to cool completely.
We just had a weekend guest, and sadly, put her on a plane to return to her home last night. This woman prefers to eat healthy, in moderation and occasionally diet. Boy did she come to the wrong place!
We started with some rugelach. I made apple/cinnamon, chocolate and
chocolate/blackberry. They are very similar except the for filling. I added an apple tart, (I got to use my new spiralizer so am happy.) Fran and I had some fruit dumplings from Apple Hill (much like my hand pies but bigger, so I added blueberry, apply and blackberry hand pie/filled rough puff pastry dumplings. For dinner we had my homemade pizza margherita: sweet/salty sauce, home made dough (ala Independent Pizza in Seattle), basil and fresh mozzarella, baked 6 minutes at 600 degrees in my gas grill. I added some garlic bread knots to accompany. It was so good, I made second one for Sunday night. Unfortunately, we at all the garlic bread knots, so I made some chocolate mousse with pink whipped cream topping. Oh, we also had a salad.
- 16 tablespoons (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup cream cheese, at room temperature (2 T cream cheese = 28g. 3/4 Cup = 12 T, ¾ C = 4oz.)
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
FILLING CINNAMON RAISIN
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries, raisins, or currants
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- water for brushing dough
- 1 T brown sugar
- 1 Tsp unsweetened cocoa power
- ¼ Tsp cinnamon (optional)
- granulated sugar or coarse white sparkling sugar
- milk or cream
- To make the dough using a mixer: Beat together the butter, cream cheese, sour cream, and salt until smooth. Add the flour, mixing to make a stiff dough.
- Divide the dough into three equal portions. Press each gently into a disk. Make the disks as round as possible, smoothing their edges; this will allow you to roll the disks into a perfectly round circle, making the resulting rugelach more attractive. (Note how :perfect this dough circle is.) Wrap the disks in plastic, and chill the dough for about 1 hour, until it’s firm but not rock hard. Or chill longer (up to overnight), then warm for about 45 to 60 minutes at room temperature, until the dough softens enough to roll out without cracking.
- To make the CINNAMON RAISIN FILLING: process the sugar, walnuts, dried fruit, and cinnamon in a food processor or blender until finely chopped and well combined (but not pasty). Don’t have a food processor? Simply stir together the filling ingredients; your filling will be chunky rather than smooth.
- To make the CHOCOLATE FILLING: Whisk together 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder; add 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, if desired. Sprinkle atop rolled-out dough. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup (1 1/2 ounces) mini chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate.
- Working with one piece of dough at a time, place it on a generously floured surface. Roll it into a 10″ circle and brush it lightly with water. For a flavorful touch, brush the rolled-out rugelach dough with a thin layer of boiled cider, warmed apple or
currant jelly, or puréed fruit preserves, instead of water.
- Use your fingers to spread about 1/3 of the filling onto the round, going all the way to the edges and gently patting the filling to help anchor it to the dough.
- Using a pizza cutter, baker’s bench knife, or sharp knife, divide the dough into 12 equal wedges. Roll each wedge up, beginning with the wide end and ending with the narrow end. Place the rolls point-side down on a baking sheet; lining the baking sheet with parchment will help with cleanup. Repeat with the remaining two pieces of dough.
- Brush the rugelach with milk or cream; and sprinkle with granulated or coarse white sparkling sugar, if desired.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Refrigerate the rugelach while the oven is preheating.
- Bake the rugelach for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven, and cool right on the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Store leftover rugelach in an airtight container at room temperature for several days. Freeze for longer storage.
- 100 g cold butter cut into small cubes
- 200 g all-purpose flour
- 60 g icing sugar (Splenda?)
- ½ tsp vanilla
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 egg (50g)
- 3 apples (sliced thin or spiralized with skins on)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 Tsp cinnamon
- Mix butter with sugar
- Add salt then vanilla
- Add egg
- Stir in flour.
- Mix by hand until incorporated
- Add 3-5 Tbl water to make dough sticky
- Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 30 min
- Butter tartlet pans
- Roll dough to about ⅛” thick
- Lay over tart mold and press into all crevices
- Roll top to cut off excess
- Prick holes in bottom and sides of formed dough
- Add pastry weights to each pan
- Bake in preheated oven 350o F (175o C) for 17 min
- Remove pastry weights with 5 min left in the bake
- Remove pastry shells from pans and let cool on wire rack
- Fill cooled tart shell with sliced apples. I put them in a spiral shape but any way will do
- Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over the apples.
- Cover exposed edges of tart with aluminum foil to prevent over browning.
- Back at 375 F for 20-30 min. When apples have reduced and mixture is bubbling.
- Remove from over and cool on a wire rack.
Sweet and Salty Pizza Sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 medium tomatoes, diced
- 1 can tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
- 2 tablespoons (4 large leaves) fresh basil, coarsely chopped
- Heat oil in medium saucepan over a medium heat until hot.
- Add garlic; cook 30 seconds or until fragrant.
- Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and pepper and cook for 8-10 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring and mashing tomatoes with potato masher until crushed.
- Stir in basil.
- Place in small bowl; cool to room temperature This sauce may be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated or up to 2 months ahead and frozen.
If you have previously read my blog you know I tend to create a title that is a little sarcastic, punny (not puny as in “small”, but punny and in “with puns”) and snarky. This time, I admit my ignorance. For fear of insulting a people and culture I of which I have little knowledge, I simply titled this one as Japanese Cream Pans.
Another more snarky point: I tried one of these pastries courtesy of my son’s mother in law’s cousin, or my cousin-in-law once removed. (I made that up. I find it annoying to have to describe a full family tree to delineate the connection of two people related via someone’s marriage.)
Anyway, these pastries are light, soft and delicious. I found a recipe online and followed it with two exceptions and one caution learned after making them. See below.
You can make the tangzhong and cream filling as much as 3 days in advance. Both will stay in the refrigerator that long if covered. Tangzhong is a water roux used to lighten the texture and provides the more tender crumb these pastries require.
Cream Pan Dough:
- 2 1/2 c. bread flour
- 2 tsp. active dry yeast
- 4 T. sugar
- 3 T. unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 c. tangzhong
- 1 egg
- 1/2 c. milk
- 1/3 c. bread flour
- 1 c. water
Japanese custard cream:
- 1 3/4 c. milk
- 4 T. unsalted butter
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 5 T. flour
- 2 T. cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract, or seeds scraped out of 1 vanilla bean pod)
- 1 egg yolk beaten with 2-3 T. water
- Make the tangzhong. In a small saucepan, gently heat the bread flour + water, while slowly whisking. When the mixture thickens, and swirl lines appear – remove from heat and cool. You will only end up using half of this mixture – store the other half in the refrigerator (covered) for up to 3 days.
- Make the cream pan dough. Add the tangzhong, butter, sugar, salt, and egg beaten with the milk to a mixer bowl. On top of those ingredients, add the bread flour. Make a depression in the center of the bread flour, and add the yeast. Turn the mixer fitted with adough hook to low until a basic dough is formed. The increase speed to medium to knead for 8 minutes, then allow the dough to rise (covered) for 1 hour in a warm place. Punch down, and allow to rise another 30 minutes.) While the dough is rising, make the custard cream.
- HERE IS ONE OF THE CHANGES: I use the Martha Stewart method of making cream patisserie. Put all the ingredients into a large sauce pan and heat with constant stirring until the mixture begins to set (looks like loose scrambled eggs), strain the mixture and add the vanilla. Much easier that tempering the eggs etc.
- The original recipe follows here:
- Scald the milk and butter in a large pyrex measuring cup by microwaving for 2-3 minutes.
- Beat the egg yolk with a whisk, and add the flour, cornstarch, salt, and sugar. Whisk together to form a thick paste.
- Add about 1/3 of the warm milk mixture to the paste, and whisk constantly. (This step tempers the egg, and loosens up the paste so that you can add the remaining warm milk.) Add the second 1/3 of the warm milk, and whisk until combined. Then add the last 1/3 of the warm milk, and whisk until combined.
- Strain the egg mixture into a saucepan. (This will catch any lumps, and any bits of egg that may have “scrambled”.)
- Add the vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract, or scraped vanilla bean guts), then slowly heat the saucepan over medium low heat (whisking constantly). When the mixture thickens so that swirl lines appear, remove from heat and continue whisking another 30 seconds.
- Refrigerate the custard cream until cold and thick in a covered container for several hours.
- Dust a work surface liberally with flour. Divide the dough into 16 pieces. Using a cookie scoop, portion out 16 balls of chilled custard cream. (I usually set the custard portions on top a sheet of Reynold’s non-stick foil.)
- I WAS NOT HAPPY WITH BAKING THE CREAM. Skip this and inject the cream after the pastry has cooled. Be gentle with the dough, don’t over deflate. This will keep it lighter and less bread-like.
- The original instructions follow here.
- Flatten each piece of dough with the palm of your hand and place in a small custard cup. Use a small spoon to put a portion of chilled custard into the depression.
- Pinch the edges upwards to seal and place seam side down on a silicone lined cookie sheet.
- Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for another 30-60 minutes. Brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash, and bake at 335 degrees for 15 minutes. Use a dilute egg wash. I increased the water from 1 Tablespoon to 3.
- Remove from oven and cool thoroughly.
- Inject cooled creampat. You should feel the pastry become heavy. That is enough filling.
- Refrigerate to store.
Last week I noticed I still had a bag of whole wheat flour in the fridge that I have to use. As bread baking day was approaching I thought, “Why not adding some of the whole wheat flour to my regular recipe?” So I substituted one cup whole wheat for the 6-7 cups bread flour that was called for. I also increased the hydration a little. A little confession here. I don’t actually measure the amount of water I add to the recipe. I start with the recommended amount, then just add until it seems about the right hydration. i.e. the “feel of the dough is right. Usually this means it is soft, pliable and a little sticky.
I also thought it might be interesting to use some molasses instead of sugar. This would make the bread healthier (more fiber with whole wheat) and “sugar free” (sort of. Close enough for me.)
I made a standard 1 lb sandwich loaf plus a 2 lb boule with a variety of seeds on top. I had some issues with the seeds sticking to the loaf (actually, not sticking.) Next time, I will add the seeds to the dough prior to the second rise. This should help the adhesion.
- 5 to 6 cups bread flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 4 tablespoons molasses
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoons shortening
- 4 1/2 teaspoons fast acting yeast
- 2 ¼ cups very warm water (120° to 130°F)
- In large bowl, stir 3 1/2 cups of the bread flour, one cup whole wheat flour, the sugar, salt, shortening and yeast until well mixed. Add warm water. Beat with electric mixer on low speed 5 minutes, scraping bowl frequently. The whole wheat flour does not absorb the water as fast as the bread flour so the extra long mixing gives it a chance. Beat on medium speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Stir in enough remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, to make dough easy to handle.
- Knead with the dough hook for 8 minutes as fast as your mixer will go. My KitchenAide will let me go to 5 (our of 7). Place dough on lightly floured surface. Knead by hand until dough is smooth and springy. Grease large bowl with shortening. Place dough in bowl, turning dough to grease all sides. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place 40 to 60 minutes or until dough has doubled in size. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.
- Grease bottoms and sides of a 9×5-inch loaf pan with shortening or spray with cooking spray. Place dutch oven in the oven and start heating 30 minutes before the second rise is complete.
- Gently push fist into dough to deflate. Divide dough in one third and 2 thirds. This will be about 1 lb and 2 lb. Flatten the smaller portion with hands or rolling pin into 16×6-inch rectangle on lightly floured surface. Roll dough up tightly, beginning at 6-inch side. Press with thumbs to seal after each turn. Pinch edge of dough into roll to seal. Pinch each end of roll to seal. Fold ends under loaf. Place seam side down in pan.
- Line a bowl of approximately the same dimensions as your dutch oven with parchment paper. Form the 2 lb portion of dough into a ball. I like to work it a bit on the counter, rolling back and forth between my hands to form a nice smooth ball. (Next time, I will add the seeds to the smooth side of this ball, then turn over into the lined bowl to rise the second time.) Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place 35 to 50 minutes or until dough has doubled in size.
- Move oven rack to low position so that tops of pans will be in center of oven. Place a small metal pan in the oven to create steam for the sandwich loaf. The dutch over shouldn’t need extra steam.
- When the boule has doubled carefully tip the dough from the bowl into the now very hot dutch oven. The seeds that were on the bottom of the bowl will now (hopefully) be well attached to the dough which will now be on the top.
- Heat oven to 425°F. Place both loaves into the over and pour a cup of water into the metal pan.
- Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until loaves are deep golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pans to wire rack to cool.
Along with the other wonderful birthday gifts I received yesterday, (and the day before) Fran gave me my very own Emile Henry Bread and Potato pot! Emile Henry, France, is a family owned business manufacturing ceramic cooking product since 1850. This bread pot adds a nice glaze to the surface of the loaf and by retaining the moisture which turns to steam, it also imparts a fantastic crust to the bread.
Preheating the oven with the dutch oven inside to 450o F, adding the risen dough and quickly covering with the top locks the steam into the dutch oven, making it perform like a steam injection oven used by commercial bakeries.
Use any bread recipe you like, to date I have made no knead bread and NY rye. Next up is my standard sandwich bread loaf.
I found if the dough is a little dry, sprinkle a little water on the top of the dough after you place it in the Bread Pot. This will assure adequate water to create the steam necessary to generate the steam.
No Knead Bread – KAF
- 680g lukewarm water
- 907g King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour* or Organic All-Purpose Flour
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 14g instant or active dry yeast
- 3 cups lukewarm water
- 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons instant or active dry yeast
- Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, or a large (6-quart), food-safe plastic bucket. For first-timers, “lukewarm” means about 105°F, but don’t stress over getting the temperatures exact here. Comfortably warm is fine; “OUCH, that’s hot!” is not. Yeast is a living thing; treat it nicely.
- Mix and stir everything together to make a very sticky, rough dough. If you have a stand mixer, beat at medium speed with the beater blade for 30 to 60 seconds. If you don’t have a mixer, just stir-stir-stir with a big spoon or dough whisk until everything is combined.
- Next, you’re going to let the dough rise. If you’ve made the dough in a plastic bucket, you’re all set — just let it stay there, covering the bucket with a lid or plastic wrap; a shower cap actually works well here. If you’ve made the dough in a bowl that’s not at least 6-quart capacity, transfer it to a large bowl; it’s going to rise a lot. There’s no need to grease the bowl, though you can if you like; it makes it a bit easier to get the dough out when it’s time to bake bread.
- Cover the bowl or bucket, and let the dough rise at room temperature for 2 hours. Then refrigerate it for at least 2 hours, or for up to about 7 days. (If you’re pressed for time, skip the room-temperature rise, and stick it right into the fridge). The longer you keep it in the fridge, the tangier it’ll get; if you chill it for 7 days, it will taste like sourdough. Over the course of the first day or so, it’ll rise, then fall. That’s OK; that’s what it’s supposed to do.
- When you’re ready to make bread, sprinkle the top of the dough with flour; this will make it easier to grab a hunk. Grease your hands, and pull off about 1/4 to 1/3 of the dough — a 14-ounce to 19-ounce piece, if you have a scale. It’ll be about the size of a softball, or a large grapefruit.
- Plop the sticky dough onto a floured work surface, and round it into a ball, or a longer log. Don’t fuss around trying to make it perfect; just do the best you can.
- Place the loaf on a piece of parchment (if you’re going to use a baking stone); or onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Sift a light coating of flour over the top; this will help keep the bread moist as it rests before baking.
- Let the loaf warm to room temperature and rise; this should take about 60 minutes (or longer, up to a couple of hours, if your house is cool). It won’t appear to rise upwards that much; rather, it’ll seem to settle and expand. Preheat your oven to 450°F while the loaf rests. If you’re using a baking stone, position it on a middle rack while the oven preheats. Place a shallow metal or cast-iron pan (not glass, Pyrex, or ceramic) on the lowest oven rack, and have 1 cup of hot water ready to go.
- When you’re ready to bake, take a sharp knife and slash the bread 2 or 3 times, making a cut about 1/2″ deep. The bread may deflate a bit; that’s OK, it’ll pick right up in the hot oven.
- Place the bread in the oven — onto the baking stone, if you’re using one, or simply onto a middle rack, if it’s on a pan — and carefully pour the 1 cup hot water into the shallow pan on the rack beneath. It’ll bubble and steam; close the oven door quickly.
- Bake the bread for 25 to 35 minutes, until it’s a deep, golden brown.
- Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a rack. Store leftover bread in a plastic bag at room temperature.
METHOD 2 – DUTCH OVEN
- When you’re ready to bake, measure out a two-pound ball of dough. If you don’t have a scale, it should look like it will fill the base of the Bread Pot most of the way.
- Shape the dough and let it rest on a floured kitchen towel or piece of parchment paper with the seam side up, covered, while it rises. (You can also use a brotform if you want to make some fancy rings on the surface of your loaf.)
- To ensure you get a burst of steam when the dough is put inside the pot, it should be preheated empty for about 30 minutes. Start preheating your pot roughly 30 minutes before your rising dough is ready to bake.
- Keep in mind the temperature of your kitchen will make a difference in how quickly the dough rises. The No-Knead Crusty White Bread dough can take anywhere from one to three hours to rise; I usually let it rise for at least one hour before preheating the pot for 30 minutes, giving the dough a total of a 1½ hours to rise.
- When your dough looks like it will be ready in 30 minutes, put the Bread Pot (both the bottom and the lid) into the cold oven, and set it to 450°F (or the temperature your recipe calls for).
- Half an hour later, the dough should be risen and the pot should be thoroughly preheated. Carefully remove the hot pot from the oven, taking care to place it on a neutral surface like a cooling rack, wooden board, or kitchen towel. (Avoid contact with anything cold, such as cold water or a cold surface; this may cause the pot to crack.)
- Apply a gentle coating of vegetable oil-based non-stick spray and sprinkle in some semolina flour or cornmeal. (Be careful during this step — the pot may smoke slightly when prepared.)
- Slide your hand under the towel or piece of parchment paper and turn the dough over into the pot, seam side down. You can gently shake the pot from side to side to help the dough settle evenly in the bottom.
- Don’t worry if your dough doesn’t look picture-perfect here; it will turn into a beautiful, golden loaf as it bakes.
- Make a few slashes in the top of your loaf (a lame works well for this), and then put the lid on. Bake for 40 minutes; remove the lid and bake for another 10 to 20 minutes, until the loaf browns fully.
- Remove the loaf from the oven and let it cool completely on a rack before slicing.