It's been like, what a whole week since I last made bread? I am really loving all the baking going on at home these days. The house smells incredible and I have eaten enough butter this week to make a cow blush (yeah, I said that. So what. I am from the mid-west so I am pretty sure I can say silly things and get away with it.).
Today is the hubby's birthday but we celebrated with his family last night. Not that you would know it from any pictures because we did not take a single picture. Now for those of you that know his family, I am certain that will come as a shock but I swear it is true...not a single one. Not even one of Rob and Ellie blowing out candles!
Even though we did not capture the evening on film (or digital media card), we had a wonderful time. Ellie and I spent the entire day in the kitchen preparing - grilled beef tenderloin with bearnaise sauce, roasted potatoes and onions, sauteed mushrooms, mixed greens with pecans, dried cranberries and homemade croutons (left over dill and onion bread from last weekend's baking), homemade rolls and bread and finally a fresh baked apple pie. It was really yummy if I do say so myself.
I wish I could take credit for the rolls and bread recipes but I have not even come close to making up a bread recipe. The Almost No Knead Bread recipe has been in my 'I want to make it pile' since early 2008 when I got the issue of Cook's Illustrated. The recipe is virtually knead free and it tastes so good. The outside is crusty and brown and the inside looks light and airy. It looks like something one would pick up at a fancy bakery for a special occassion.
This is a bread recipe for anyone that has not baked bread before. It is easy and the outcome will keep you wanting more.
Almost No Knead Bread
3 cups (15 ounces) all purpose or bread flour
1/4 tsp. instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. (7 ounces) water at room temp
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. (3 ounces) mild flavored lager
1 Tbs. white vinegar
- Whisk flour, yeast, and salt in large bowl.
- Add water, beer, and vinegar.
- Using rubber spatula, fold mixture, scraping up dry flour from bottom of bowl until shaggy ball forms.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 18 hours.
- Lay 12- by 18-inch sheet of parchment paper inside 10-inch skillet and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead 10 to 15 times.
- Shape dough into ball by pulling edges into middle.
- Transfer dough, seam-side down, to parchment-lined skillet and spray surface of dough with nonstick cooking spray.
- Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until dough has doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with finger, about 2 hours.
- About 30 minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place 6- to 8-quart heavy-bottomed Dutch oven (with lid) on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees.
- Lightly flour top of dough and, using razor blade or sharp knife, make one 6-inch-long, 1/2-inch-deep slit along top of dough.
- Carefully remove pot from oven and remove lid.
- Pick up dough by lifting parchment overhang and lower into pot (let any excess parchment hang over pot edge).
- Cover pot and place in oven.
- Reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake covered for 30 minutes.
- Remove lid and continue to bake until loaf is deep brown and instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 210 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes longer.
- Carefully remove bread from pot; transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.
Note to Krissie, missed you at dinner but you ABSOLUTELY have to make this bread. Give it a try and let me know how it turns out.