Fresh Bread – And No Kneading Needed
This is a winemaking blog, and I’m not about to turn it into a cooking or baking recipe blog. However, good wine, whether purchased at the retail store or made at home goes well with food, of course!
Many will spend much time and energy pairing wines with the food they will eat. And there’s nothing wrong with this at all. Wine can compliment a dinner, or it can leave a bad taste if not correctly paired with the food one is eating.
Another addition to dinner that we usually enjoy is some type of bread. (Perhaps I have too many hobbies – from fly fishing to winemaking to bread baking but I enjoy them all and sometimes, together! Although I’ve been known to take a certain flask with me when fly fishing, and sip some Bushmill’s Black Bush from it.)
A few years ago, maybe four, I came across a recipe in the New York Times, I think it was. It was interesting to me, relative to my winemaking hobby. We commonly make bread with yeast, just as we do our wines. Although I also enjoy making non-yeast breads such as Irish Wheaton and Soda as I grew up on it. But I digress – this recipe I found called for a small amount of yeast, no kneading of the bread, and instead, just time – lots of time – to allow the yeast to work, the dough to rise and the flavours to yield themselves.
I make it quite often and enjoy a slice with butter (it has to be real butter – not margarine) and a glass of red wine. Here’s how I make it:
3 cups white flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon “Quick Rise” yeast
1 1/2* cups water
Quick Rise yeast is the same as that used in bread machines
* it’s approximate. I usually need to add a few tablespoons of water to this amount.
Measure out flour into a mixing bowl.
Add the yeast and the salt to the water. Stir well.
Pour the water into the mixing bowl. Stir the water and flour so that you end up with a “shaggy” dough. I’ve found that the amount of water, 1 1/2 cups is only a guideline – some flours seem drier than others, and I need to add more. You are not looking for a soaking wet dough here, keep in mind. You’ll sort of shape it into a ball like form.
Cover the mixing bowl with your favorite brand of cling wrap. I have found the so called extra cling stuff made by Glad to be useless. It seems to stick to itself alright, but not to anything else. Saran wrap is better.
And that’s it for now! The above steps take all of five minutes. All you’re going to do now is treat that dough as if it was wine. You’re going to let the yeast go to work, all on their own, for at least 14 hours. So this bread won’t be ready until tomorrow.
14 or more hours later, place a piece of parchment paper on your work surface and sprinkle it with flour. You’ll also want to sprinkle flour over your hands too. This dough will now have become quite sticky. You should see lots of bubbles in the dough, and it will have risen considerably. It will also be sticking to the sides of the mixing bowl.
Roll out the dough onto the parchment paper, and quickly shape it into a ball, after turning the dough into thirds, over onto itself.
Cover the dough with a tea towel for another four hours.
After three hours of the secondary rise, turn your oven on to 450 and put a 4 to 5 quart crock pot that has a lid in the oven, but don’t put the lid on the pot. Let the oven warm up completely.
After the fourth hour (and you don’t have to be exact here – if you want to wait five hours, you can), roll the dough from the parchment paper into the crock pot. Jiggle the crock pot around a bit to have the dough be as centered as possible. Put the lid on the pot, close your oven door, set the timer for 30 minutes, and go have a glass of wine.
When the timer goes off, take the lid off the pot, and let it bake for another 15 minutes.
As it’s baking, your kitchen will fill with an aroma that just smells so good! And you’ll be tempted to cut off a slice of that bread immediately after you take it out of the oven. Hey, I’m not going to tell you not to do that – I enjoy a glass of new wine too – but if you just take the bread out, place it on a cooling rack, you’ll be able to hear it crackle as it cools down.
Use a serrated knife to cut this – you’ll have a crusty, delicious bread, good for almost any meal. And people will think you spent hours on it!