fontas food

eating my way through suburbia

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Bread and Spices: Bread Baking Day #4

Those who know me well know that baking is not my forte. I love baked goods (who doesn't?) but the precision required by baking sometimes escapes me. Imagine my glee when I finally got around to trying out Jim Lahey's No Knead Bread...baking that relies more on just slapping things together rather than weighing and measuring ingredients. Somebody pinch me!

Since first trying out the no-knead bread, I've tried a bunch of different variations on a theme. Different flours, different shapes, different baking pans. In the back of my head, I've been thinking about adding seasonings to the bread and also about making rolls. When I read about the current Bread Baking Day challenge, I knew the time had come.

(I do hope that "herbs" qualify as "spices". Hmmmm. I might just have to make some gingerbread as well, just to be sure.)

No-Knead Herb Rolls

3 cups all-purpose flour, just scooped and levelled
1 T. salt
1/2 tsp each dried thyme, oregano (Mediterranean, not Mexican!), and basil
3/8 tsp active dry yeast
1.5 cups potato water (water left over from boiling potatoes...if you don't have any kicking around or--more likely--you haven't made potatoes the night before trying this recipe, go ahead and use plain water)

olive oil

Day 1: early to mid-afternoon

Combine flour, salt, and herbs in a large bowl. Warm the potato water to around 80 degrees F and sprinkle the yeast over it. Let the yeast dissolve in the warm water and, when it's all kind of foamy, add the water to the flour mixture. Stir until the mixture forms a shaggy dough.

Coat the inside of a second bowl with a wee bit of olive oil and transfer the dough to the new bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place.

(By "warm", I mean 70 degrees or so. If you're like me and you don't keep your house that warm, put the oven light on and just set the bowl in the oven.)

Day 2: morning

Place a clean cotton dishtowel on a cookie sheet and sprinkle it with cornmeal.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Using a dough blade, cut the dough into four equal pieces. Form each piece of dough into a mini-loaf and place on the cotton towel. Sprinkle with more cornmeal and then cover with a second clean dishtowel.

Set aside for two hours.

Thirty minutes before the two hours is up, place a covered cast iron baking dish in the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. (Note: if you have used your oven as a rising place, make sure to take the dough out before you turn on the oven. Trust me on this one.)

When the oven has come up to temperature, take the pot out, de-lid it, and arrange the little loaves in it. Cover and put it in the oven for 25 minutes.

When the 25 minutes is up, remove the lid and continue to bake it for 20 minutes.

Then it's ready to come out of the oven and cool down a bit before becoming the perfect vehicle for any type of homemade soup. Mmmmm.

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Anonymous baking history said...

Hi Jen
the bbd#04 roundup is now online. Thank you for participating!!

December 4, 2007 at 1:03 p.m.  
Blogger Susan said...

Isn't it amazing how such wonderful bread can be made with zero kneading? Looks delicious!

December 4, 2007 at 6:47 p.m.  

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