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It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.
Today: Carey Nershi from Reclaiming Provincial shares a recipe for no-knead sandwich bread that takes minimal prep time and makes enough to keep extra dough on hand. Your lunch just got an upgrade.
Learning how to make bread from scratch is an empowering thing. For me, the ability to transform a seemingly unimpressive list of ingredients into a real, honest-to-goodness loaf of something feels like a revelatory act. Especially since dough holds so many possibilities. The options are endless, and I am a big fan of endless options.
I have learned that some of the best loaves are the simple, all-purpose ones. I resisted the no-knead revolution for a long time because, well, I liked kneading. But my curiosity eventually got the better of me, and I gave it a try. I was an instant convert. Not only is it easier, but the taste is fantastic.
As my days grew busier and busier, this recipe's minimal hands-on time became ideal. Mixing all my ingredients up in one bowl, letting them hang out and get friendly for an afternoon, then sticking the bowl in the fridge until I’m ready to bake something? Yeah, I’m into that. Saving time by making a double batch? Now we’re talking. If you’re in the habit of making lots of sandwiches (say, for hungry little ones heading off to school!), having a mound of dough at the ready in your fridge can be a lifesaver.
More: Once you make your first loaf, pack up a PB&J with homemade Concord Grape Jelly.
This recipe is a bit of a meeting-in-the-middle between the Artisan Bread in 5 and Jim Lahey techniques. The flavor of Lahey’s recipe is amazing, but a 12- to 18-hour proofing followed by a 2-hour rise might seem like a daunting amount of waiting time for some. The original Artisan Bread in 5 recipe calls for a fair amount of yeast, which gives the finished loaf a very distinct yeasty flavor. This recipe cuts the yeast in half and compensates by extending the proofing and rise times slightly, allowing more natural flavors to develop without adding a good deal of time to the process. Once the proofing is complete, stick the dough in the fridge for up to two weeks and use it as you need it. (Bonus: the flavor improves over time from the cold fermentation.)
No-knead doughs are usually shaped into round, rustic loaves, but they can easily be turned into fantastic sandwich bread. A teensy bit of kneading and shaping yields a tighter crumb that slices wonderfully, but still begs to be eaten with just a little butter and sea salt -- it’s that good.
Makes 2 loaves
3 1/4 cups bread flour (433 grams)
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (433 grams)
2 teaspoons instant yeast (4 grams)
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt (14 grams)
3 cups of water
Combine flours, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Add water and stir together with a wooden spoon to form a shaggy dough.
Cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel and let proof at room temperature for around 5 hours. At this point the dough can be used immediately, or covered with plastic wrap and kept in the fridge for up to two weeks.
On baking day, remove half of the dough from the bowl and return the remainder to the fridge. Turn the dough out on a floured surface and lightly knead 3 to 4 times.
Shape dough into a rectangle, approximately 8 by 12 inches.
Fold a third of the dough into the center, followed by the other third.
Place dough seam side-down in a buttered loaf pan.
Cover and let rise for around 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
Preheat your oven to 450° F. Dust the top of the dough with a little flour and score with a serrated knife.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top of the loaf has just begun to brown. Let cool for at least an hour before slicing.
Photos by Carey Nershi.