This article is part of A Harmony of Flavors mission to publish pertinent articles to help bring people’s attention to important issues or problems and hopefully offer some form of education for them to make the best decisions. This Article describes that there seems to be a resurgence of the No-Knead breads that were popular a few years back. People have played with the recipes and come up with new ways to make a simple recipe even simpler. An idea begun by Jim Lahey has come around once more.
The original No Knead Bread was started by Jim Lahey. Jim learned bread baking in Italy in the 1990s but developed the no knead process much later. In 2006, Mark Bittman of the New York Times was invited to witness the ease of making this bread at Laheys Sullivan Street Bakery. The rest is history.
This history was all new to me in the summer of 2011. I went to the local farmers market and bought a loaf of what was called Mark Bittmans No Knead Bread. I love artisanal breads, with the crusty exteriors and plenty of chewiness on the inside. I did know of Mark Bittman, and I was curious. I brought home the loaf, tasted it and fell in love. I looked online to see if I could find this recipe and saw that it was available everywhere. I did not find out the recipe was from Jim Lahey until much later.
Mark Bittmans recipe differs from Laheys in some slight nuances. I have used the recipes both ways and can say that I prefer the Bittman version, at least in my home oven. Lahey adds less water and uses a 500 degree oven. Bittman uses a little more water and a 450 degree oven. I do not like blackened crusts, so I stuck to the 450 degrees. The matter of water is a choice. With 2 tablespoons more water, the result is an interior with far larger holes. Using less water the interior grain of the bread is more even. The bread is still plenty chewy made either way and the oven temperature and time are easily adapted.
If you have not jumped onto this bandwagon yet, I urge everyone to try. The one requirement is a very heavy duty pot that will withstand oven temperatures of 450 to 500 degrees. This means an enameled cast iron pot, a clay baker with a lid, or a Pyrex glass baker with lid. The size must accommodate 6 to 8 quarts in order to contain the bread as it bakes. The reason for this type of lidded pot is so that steam from the very wet dough is trapped inside. The bane of any home baker trying to create that artisanal crusty exterior is the inability to trap enough steam to accomplish it. When the dough is inside a small closed environment at high temperatures, the pot accomplishes the steam needed for the perfect crust. When removed from the oven, the bread literally sings. The bread snaps, pops, wheezes and makes many interesting sounds as it cools and is a delight to hear.
Rawstern is an author, teacher, gourmet cook as well as a photographer and graphic artist. She has taken or created all images appearing on these sites. Her articles have been syndicated nationally.
Her background is Slovakian on her mother's side and Yugoslavian on her father's. Her grandparents came from Europe to the United States to make a better life for themselves and their families. Her ethnic cooking influences began at the cradle. She began her cooking career in Guatemala, in 1970 when she moved there as a 20-year-old newlywed, and set out to learn to cook in a foreign land. This process was complicated by the fact that she could not speak or read the language.
Rawstern loves food, new recipes, and to teach people how to cook from scratch. Her passion is to teach people how to create A Harmony of Flavors when they cook, find joy in baking and help pass along her love of and joy in foods, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy, as she continues her journey in both ethnic cooking and domestic. Her favorite saying in her class is “Life is short – eat dessert first”.
About the Author
My name is Chris Rawstern and I have been on a cooking and baking journey for 42 years. I love food. I love to cook, and teach people how to cook, from scratch. I love baking. I love to create new recipes and try them. I hope to inspire you to follow me!
I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of collecting favored recipes of your own. Visit me at my Web site (http://www.aharmonyofflavors.com/