No need to knead

I accomplished two culinary feats in my kitchen this weekend. I discovered an easy recipe for a sweet and creamy Seafood Bisque, and for those of you who have been keeping up with my battle with yeast, you’ll be happy to hear that I finally persevered. I’ll break these two recipes up into two blog entries, beginning with my victorious, savory and aromatic Rosemary Lemon Bread. If you’ve ever had bread at Hogan’s Hideaway or Wegmans’ Rosemary Loaf with Olive Oil and Sea Salt, then this is right up your alley!

For those of you saying, who has the time to make homemade bread — I’m telling you right now, if you follow this recipe, you will see bread in a whole new light. I found the recipe on Family Style Food blog. According to this article in the New York Times, the technique originated at the Sullivan Street Bakery on West 47th Street in Manhattan and has been adapted many times over. I can see why…you see, there’s no need to knead.

You’ll need to start this up the day before you plan to bake it. Don’t be deterred. You will have to take some small steps in between a lot of waiting time. This calls for:

  •  3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoon chopped lemon zest
  • Cornmeal or flour as needed

First I combined the flour, yeast, salt, rosemary and zest in a large bowl. I added 1 and 5/8 cups of water and stirred until blended. The dough was shaggy and sticky. I covered the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for about 12 to 18 hours. To ensure that my yeast rose, I placed the bowl over the radiator.

To help you with your timing, I started my bread recipe at about 4 p.m. on Saturday. At around 2 p.m. on Sunday, I took the dough out of the bowl and put it on my lightly floured countertop. I sprinkled it with more flour and folded the dough over onto itself once or twice before covering it loosely with plastic wrap and letting it rest for 15 minutes.

Using enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to my fingers or work surface, I quickly shaped the dough into a ball. I generously coated a cotton towel with flour or cornmeal. The recipe called for cornmeal, but I didn’t have any. Flour worked just fine. Then I put the dough onto the towel, seam side down, dusted the top with more flour, and covered it with another towel.

I let the dough rise for about two hours until it more than doubled in size and did not readily spring back when pocked with a finger. At least 30 minutes before the dough was ready, I put it into my Le Creuset French Oven (a 2 3/4-quart cast-iron pot or Pyrex casserole dish will work as well) in the oven and preheated the oven to 450 degrees.

Carefully removing the pot from the oven, I placed the dough into the pot, seam side up. I shook the pot to evenly distribute the dough, covered it with a lid and baked it for 30 minutes. At that point I uncovered the bread and continued cooking it for about 25 more minutes until the loaf was browned. I sprayed some olive oil over the top of the loaf near the end of the baking process. Lastly, I transferred the loaf from the pot to a wire rack and let it cool for 10 minutes.

I will be trying this recipe many times over, and experimenting with ingredients. Do you have any ideas for altering this recipe to create new flavor varieties? Stay tuned for the Seafood Bisque recipe tomorrow.


5 responses

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