"The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude." Julia Child

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

(nearly) no-knead italian bread

While a tiny bit of kneading is required to make this bread, the minimal work is well worth the crunchy crust and soft, airy crumb.

Yield: 3 very large loaves
770 calories per loaf
Active time: 5 minutes
Total time: 6 1/2 hours

4 cups high gluten flour
2 teaspoons truffle infused salt (or regular kosher salt)
1 teaspoon yeast
3 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/4 cup olive oil

1. In a 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup, combine the 1 cup of the lukewarm water and olive oil. Set aside.

2. In a small cup, combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, yeast, and a pinch of sugar. Set aside for 10 minutes. (See "oma buns" for more photos of fermenting yeast.)

3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, and dry milk.

4. Combine the yeast mixture to the water/olive oil mixture, stirring to combine.

5. Pour the wet mixture into the bowl containing the flour.

6. Stir well to combine, using a spatula to lift and fold the dough over itself for 30 strokes. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 20 minutes (Fold #1).

7. Fold the dough over itself 30 more strokes,  cover, and let rest for 20 more minutes (Fold #2).
(I was having a difficult time folding the dough with my spatula because it is very sticky, so ended up lightly flouring my hands and folding it over inside of the bowl.)

8. Repeat the fold-rest process (Fold #3).

9. Fold the dough over itself 30 more strokes (Fold #4). This is the last time, I promise. Notice how much smoother the dough is compared to how it looked in step 6?

10. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for 2 hours.

11. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into three equal pieces.  The dough will be sticky, but you should be able to work with it if you lightly flour the surface and your hands.

12.  Shape the pieces into loaves.  You'll want to roll the dough against the counter top and squeeze out the air so bubbles don't form during the second proof and baking. I rolled the piece into a log, folded in in half, and then rolled it against the counter top to squeeze out the air.

13. Place the loaves in a loaf pan, or on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet.

14. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until noticeably puffy, about 3 hours.

15. With about 30 minutes left in the final proof, preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

16. Brush the loaves with an egg wash and toppings, if desired.

17. Arrange a water bath. See step 9 of "carbs, glorious carbs" for more on water baths.

18. Bake the loaves until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Original recipe found here.

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