Bread Challenge: “No-Knead” For Success

When I announced my Bread Challenge, I mentioned that I have had success with no-knead artisan breads using the method and recipes in Jim Lahey’s book My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method.

My mom and sister have been doing the bread challenge with me, and when they wanted to give one of Lahey’s breads a try I was game.  We made the Stecca, which is a thin baguette Lahey developed to use for sandwiches.

The secret to no-knead breads is the very long, slow rise.  The dough is mixed quickly and thoroughly, and then allowed to sit for 12 – 18 hours.  The long fermentation allows the gluten and complex flavors to develop.  These are truly the best breads I have ever made!

Mmmm

For the Stecca, after the dough has it’s overnight rest, and then another rise, it is cut into quarters and stretched out on a lightly oiled pan.  I still need practice getting the dough to stretch evenly, but I guess it adds to the rustic look.  Lahey suggests either simply brushing the loaves with olive oil and a sprinkling of coarse salt, or embellishing them with tomatoes, garlic, or olives.  I left two plain to use for sandwiches and added garlic and olives to the other two loaves.

Ready to bake!

The night I made these I assembled sandwiches for dinner.  I used a sandwich recipe from the same book, though I must admit I did not use all home-made ingredients as the recipe recommends.  I did try making the home-made aioli but it was a major FAIL.  Still, even with “store-bought” mayonnaise, sun-dried tomatoes, and roast beef, the sandwiches were fabulous.

Roast beef sandwiches with sun-dried tomatoes and arugula

We ate the embellished loaves for dinner the next night with some soup.

If you haven’t tried a no-knead bread recipe yet, I highly recommend it!  I am not going to include a recipe here because they are readily found elsewhere.  Here are a couple of places to start:

Mark Bittman started the no-knead craze by writing about Jim Lahey and his method in the NY Times.  A link to the basic recipe and a video showing the technique is there too.

Steamy Kitchen has a great post about the Stecca, with detailed pictures and the recipe.

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4 Comments

Filed under Cooking

4 responses to “Bread Challenge: “No-Knead” For Success

  1. Very lovely. Especially the garlic version. Yum.
    I really like Jim Lahey’s books, although I use the “Artisan Bread in 5” books a little more often. I make the chocolate coconut bread for my one girl & she just loves it (I won’t eat it – not a fan of the coconut); his rye breads are also very nice (and simple).

    • Karen

      I have not tried the chocolate coconut bread yet, but I was eying it the other day. 🙂 I made a rye bread last summer when we made “salmon in a jar” and it was delicious!

  2. Your bread is just beautiful, Karen. What a perfect sandwich that must have been!

  3. Karen, Your bread came out gorgeous! What a delicious looking sandwich! I have made Jim Lahey’s no knead bread many times, but never made it into loaves….they look great!

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