First, I am officially throwing in the towel on no-knead bread. If the last attempt was a mess, the loaf I made tonight was an all-out disaster. The dough stuck to the mixing bowl. It stuck to the floured silpat mat and did its best to ooze off all sides of the mat, resulting in me propping up the edges with various kitchen implements. It glued itself to the sides of the pot in which it rose and baked, and it had to be HACKED AND PRIED out with a couple of knives. I find kneading to be therapeutic, so perhaps it’s not surprising that I find not kneading so exasperating?
The rest of dinner, however, was a resounding success. We tried this recipe from Jamie at Home last winter and loved it, despite the cherry tomatoes being wildly out of season. This time around, we have a rogue cherry tomato plant that is remarkably out-yielding nearly everything else in the garden, so we had several cups of fresh and free Sweet 100s to toss in with half a dozen pork sausages. While you’re meant to use larger and fatter sausages in the bake, we’ve had great success with the wee breakfast links. Tonight’s were no exception – the sausages were bursting with flavor, as were the tiny cherry tomatoes. Everything was swimming in a delicious broth which we happily sopped up with hunks of bread. This recipe is so simple but so rewarding – I’m looking forward to eating leftovers over pasta or polenta this week.
Sweet Cherry Tomato & Sausage Bake from Jamie at Home
So you know about the No-Knead Bread, right? You know the one everyone’s been talking about since 2006? Stephen made it. Megan made it and has a whole photo set to prove it. Laurie made an incredible-looking loaf. Shana said it’s the only bread she makes. The photos of Carrie‘s bread are amazing. Rex‘s mom made it. Sonya made and blogged it.
So why has it taken me four years to try it? Because honestly, I like kneading. And I’ve never bothered to move on from Jamie’s basic recipe. So after 10 minutes of kneading the bagels, it seemed like an opportune time to try a bread that required no kneading.
And then it stuck. To everything. To the sides of the bowl. To the cutting board, no matter how well floured. Definitely to the towel in which the dough was wrapped. The recipe said it would make a 1 1/2 pound loaf, but mine weighed in at just over a pound – that’s the amount of dough that stuck.
At no point in the rise, lack of kneading, or transferring from bowl to counter to towel to pot did the dough ever resemble a ball – and so, when it came out of the pot, it was still flat – almost as flat as a focaccia. Hiding inside, though, was a wonderful texture born of a very, very slow rise. We’re looking forward to eating it with the pork goulash for dinner tomorrow night.
I’m not sure if I’ll make it again, though. The timing necessitates weekend baking – or a very late weeknight dinner. And then there’s the stickiness, though there are work-arounds for that. What I will try next is the Almost No-Knead variation. But for now I’ll be spreading butter on my flat little loaf.
No-Knead Bread from Jim Lahey at the Sullivan Street Bakery via Mark Bittman at New York Times – I’m also linking to Smitten Kitchen’s post about this recipe, as the comments are full of useful hacks.