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Artisan (No-Need-To-Knead) Bread

Artisan Bread

Artisan B read

The “6-3-3-13” rule. To store enough for eight loaves, remember 6-3-3-13. It’s 6 cups water, 3 teaspoons salt, 3 tablespoons yeast, and then add 13 cups of flour. It’ll amaze your friends when you do this in their homes without a recipe!

Original article and link below. However, already, I have decided I do not have the need, or room in my fridge, to keep this dough on hand at all times and have instead, adapted the technique for my standby recipe. It is a great idea and perhaps I will change my mind later. I do like sourdough breads and if there was more than just the two of us I would certainly find room in my fridge to keep the dough going.

Hmmm… Maybe I will start a follow-up loaf in the “dirty” bowl the minute the dough moves to the next stage and keep it in the fridge until I need it.

The round loaf, cut in half and then in slices is easy to bag, freeze and use as needed, better even than the rectangular from a loaf pan.

For 1 loaf:

1 tsp salt
1 tsp molasses
1 Tbl yeast
1 Tbl oil
2 1/4* cups warm water
1/4 cup flaxseed
1 cup unbleached white flour
3 cups Whole wheat flour

I warmed my glass bowl with hot water, dissolved the yeast in the bowl with the water and molasses. I mixed the flours and flaxseed together with the salt and mixed it together with the oil into the yeast and water. The additional *1/4 cup of water was needed, maybe due to the higher altitude, to get a moist dough. This was a superior method for incorporating the flax seeds, or any other grain you like, and much less effort than kneading.

I will let you know how it turned out. The texture of the finished loaf will be very important. This is a test whether or not kneading is really crucial. I have mastered the manual method and this is an experiment.

Right now the dough is perched atop a canner rack sitting atop my dehydrator which is processing sweet potato sticks into dog treats. I will have to make sure the warm air doesn’t bake the dough! Oops! Too hot! Sometimes my brainstorms are over the top.

Once the dough had risen I decided to make a loaf from half and keep the other half in the fridge. Why not, right? Do not stick your hand in to punch down the dough, like I did. Use your silicon spatula or a wooden spoon and cut out as much dough as you need for a loaf and shape it gently with hand tools, sprinkling a little flour as you go, into a nice blob of a loaf.

Here’s what it looks like, half to raise in the silicon pan on the griddle that will be preheated before baking, and the other half to the cooler under a disposable shower cap (important to use a lid that can breathe).

Artisan Loaf sm

It appears the wetter dough is spreading, thereby losing desired height. I maybe should have used all the dough to get a bigger taller loaf. The dough has spread to the edges of the pan rather than just getting taller like a kneaded loaf would. Experiment continues.

First round

If I had used all the dough I might have been successful. The texture is as I hoped, equal to the kneaded loaf. As you can see, it was not enough dough, like I feared, and due to the wetter consistency, it jelled, if you will, to the shape of the pan.

I cut the “loaf” in half, then thirds, then sliced each piece through the center. These will serve quite well until I make another batch. The rest of the dough could easily become thin buns baked on my silicon baking sheets or rolls baked in my silicon muffin pans. Have I said how much I LOVE silicon for baking? But not for cakes or cupcakes.

The previous round loaf I made from my regular recipe, pictured top of page. Having no baking stone or pizza peel (I actually held one at the thrift store last week, it was small circumference and very heavy, so I didn’t buy it.), I simply placed the dough in a round silicon cake pan to rise. I preheated my griddle (my substitute for the baking stone) in the oven and, 15 minutes later, placed the silicon pan on the griddle to bake. It turned out beautifully.

I did flour the top of the dough and sliced it before baking as instructed below.

The Master French Boule Recipe

The artisan free-form loaf called the French boule is the basic model for all the no-knead recipes. The round shape (boule in French means “ball”) is the easiest to master. You’ll learn how wet the dough needs to be (wet, but not so wet that the finished loaf won’t retain its form) and how to shape a loaf without kneading. And you’ll discover a truly revolutionary approach to baking: Take some dough from the fridge, shape it, leave it to rest, then let it bake while you’re preparing the rest of the meal.

Keep your dough wet — wetter doughs favor the development of sourdough character during storage. You should become familiar with the following recipe before going through any of the others.

Mixing and Storing the Dough

1. Heat the water to just a little warmer than body temperature (about 100 degrees Fahrenheit).

2. Add yeast and salt to the water in a 5-quart bowl or, preferably, in a resealable, lidded container (not airtight — use container with gasket or lift a corner). Don’t worry about getting it all to dissolve.

3. Mix in the flour by gently scooping it up, then leveling the top of the measuring cup with a knife; don’t pat down. Mix with a wooden spoon, a high-capacity food processor with dough attachment, or a heavy-duty stand mixer with dough hook, until uniformly moist. If hand-mixing becomes too difficult, use very wet hands to press it together. Don’t knead! This step is done in a matter of minutes, and yields a wet dough loose enough to conform to the container.

4. Cover loosely. Do not use screw-topped jars, which could explode from trapped gases. Allow the mixture to rise at room temperature until it begins to collapse (or at least flatten on top), approximately two hours, depending on temperature. Longer rising times, up to about five hours, will not harm the result. You can use a portion of the dough any time after this period. Refrigerated wet dough is less sticky and easier to work with than room-temperature dough. We recommend refrigerating the dough at least three hours before shaping a loaf. And relax! You don’t need to monitor doubling or tripling of volume as in traditional recipes.

Baking Bread on Baking Day

5. Prepare a pizza peel by sprinkling it liberally with cornmeal to prevent the loaf from sticking to it when you slide it into the oven.

Sprinkle the surface of the dough with flour, then cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit-sized) piece with a serrated knife. Hold the mass of dough in your hands and add a little more flour as needed so it won’t stick to your hands. Gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on four “sides,” rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go, until the bottom is a collection of four bunched ends. Most of the dusting flour will fall off; it doesn’t need to be incorporated. The bottom of the loaf will flatten out during resting and baking.

6. Place the ball on the pizza peel. Let it rest uncovered for about 40 minutes. Depending on the dough’s age, you may see little rise during this period; more rising will occur during baking.

7. Twenty minutes before baking, preheat oven to 450 degrees with a baking stone on the middle rack. Place an empty broiler tray for holding water on another shelf.

8. Dust the top of the loaf liberally with flour, which will allow the slashing, serrated knife to pass without sticking. Slash a 1⁄4-inch-deep cross, scallop or tick-tack-toe pattern into the top. (This helps the bread expand during baking.)

9. With a forward jerking motion of the wrist, slide the loaf off the pizza peel and onto the baking stone. Quickly but carefully pour about a cup of hot water into the broiler tray and close the oven door to trap the steam. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is browned and firm to the touch. With wet dough, there’s little risk of drying out the interior, despite the dark crust. When you remove the loaf from the oven, it will audibly crackle, or “sing,” when initially exposed to room temperature air. Allow to cool completely, preferably on a wire rack, for best flavor, texture and slicing. The perfect crust may initially soften, but will firm up again when cooled.

10. Refrigerate the remaining dough in your lidded (not airtight) container and use it over the next two weeks: You’ll find that even one day’s storage improves the flavor and texture of your bread. This maturation continues over the two-week period. Cut off and shape loaves as you need them. The dough can also be frozen in 1-pound portions in an airtight container and defrosted overnight in the refrigerator prior to baking day.

Lazy sourdough shortcut. When your dough container is empty, don’t wash it! Just scrape it down and incorporate it into the next batch. In addition to saving cleanup, the aged dough stuck to the sides will give your new batch a head start on sourdough flavor.

Variation: Herb Bread. Add a couple teaspoons of your favorite dried herbs (double if fresh) to the water mixture.

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