Endive Boats filled with a Mesclun, Gorgonzola, and Walnut Salad
If you are a regular reader, you might recall seeing this bread on our menu many times. Today I am finally sharing the recipe. This recipe is from a New York Times article that created quite a buzz several years back. It is the from the renowned bread baker, Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery in New York City. He eventually came out with his book, My Bread, with all his bread baking secrets.
I tried the original as is and it was really good, but the one thing missing for me was the size. I wanted a big rustic loaf. One that not only I could use for the dinner table but for the rest of our weekday meals. So, I doubled the amount of ingredients and added a bit more salt. Baked in a 5-quart seasoned cast iron dutch oven, this loaf of bread is a thing of beauty. It is 10-inches wide, about 4 1/2-5 inches tall at it's highest point, and weighs between 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 pounds (that's today's weight).
This is a simple bread to make; no kneading required, but it does take some advance prep and time. Below I have included a few step by steps to help you with your bread dough skills.
*I highly recommend using gram measurements for best results*
First, mix the flour, salt, yeast, and water in a large bowl or gallon container until wet and sticky; flour should be completely incorporated. If not, add a tablespoon or two of water. Cover lightly with a towel, plastic wrap or a loose fitting lid and allow to rest in a warm, draft free spot to ferment, about 12 and up to 18 hours. This long fermentation is the key to great flavor.
After the first rise, the dough should have doubled in size and bubbles should appear on the surface. Generously dust a work surface with flour.
Turn the dough out onto the floured surface in one sticky piece.
Using floured hands or a bowl scraper, gently lift the edges of the dough and fold in toward the center working around the entire dough.
Pinch the top of the dough to hold in place.
Generously dust a thin cotton tea towel or linen cloth with flour and wheat bran.
Place the dough seam side down on to the prepared towel.
Sprinkle the top of the dough with more flour and wheat bran.
Lightly cover with the sides of the towel and say, "nighty-night" for another hour or two.
Preheat the oven and heavy pot or dutch oven with a lid in a 475º F oven. Carefully invert the dough into the hot pot, cover, and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the lid and bake until deep golden brown.
Carefully remove the hot bread to a baking rack to cool. But don't leave the kitchen. Wait a few moments and listen carefully. The bread will begin to-- sing?! That's right, as the hard crust contracts and cools, it sings! Nothing like being serenaded by your food:) Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing.
Once cool, slice and enjoy warm for dinner, a slice toasted for breakfast, and anything in between. Just look at all of those nooks and crannies just waiting to be slathered with butter or drizzled with olive oil--mmm!
No-Knead Country Bread
makes one large 10-inch round loaf
800 grams (about 5 1/2 cups) bread flour
15 grams (about 1 Tablespoon) kosher salt
2 grams (1/2 teaspoon) active dry yeast
600 grams (2 2/3 cups) cool water (55º to 65º F)
Wheat bran and additional flour for dusting
In a large bowl or gallon container, stir together the flour, salt, and yeast. Using a wooden spoon, add the water and mix until you have a wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds. It should be very sticky to the touch and the flour should be completely incorporated; if not, mix in another tablespoon or two of water. Lightly cover the bowl or container with a towel, plastic wrap, or by gently placing the lid on top without sealing. Let sit at room temperature (about 72º F) out of direct sunlight until the surface is doubled in size with bubbles, about 12 and up to 18 hours.
Generously dust a work surface with flour. Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape the dough into one mound on top of the floured surface. It will be loose and sticky. Using floured hands or a bowl scraper, lift the outside edges toward the center, working around the entire piece to make a smooth round.
Lay a thin cotton or linen tea towel (not terry cloth, which tends to stick) or a large cloth napkin on your work surface. Generously sprinkle the surface of the towel with flour and wheat bran. Using your hands or scraper, gently lift the dough on to the prepared towel and place seam side down. Dust the top of the dough with more flour and wheat bran. Cover the dough with the sides of the towel and place in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours. The dough is ready when almost doubled in size.
Half an hour before the end of the second rise, place a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 475º F and place a 5-quart heavy pot or cast iron dutch oven with a tight fitting lid in the center of the rack.
When the dough is ready to bake, carefully remove the HOT dutch oven from the oven using oven mitts; remove the lid. Unfold the towel, gently slide your hand under the dough and quickly, but gently invert the dough into the hot pot. If any dough clings to the top or sides unevenly, quickly run an off-set spatula or knife around the edges to even. The dough will eventually even itself out while baking. Using oven mitts, place the hot lid back on the pot and return to the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Using oven mitts, remove the hot lid and continue baking until the bread is a deep, golden brown, about 15-30 minutes more. Remove from the oven. Using a thin handle of a spatula, carefully lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool completely before slicing, about 2 hours, preferably warm. Slicing into the loaf too early will result in a gummy texture. Rewarm and eat bread for dinner or toast for breakfast. Enjoy!
Source: Adapted from My Bread, by Jim Lahey