Sunday, May 26, 2019

Playing With No-Knead

I finally was able to play with the dough mixing tool that my dear friend Pam S gave me for my birthday. I'd seen them before but wasn't sure that I needed one. Have to say, it is a great tool for mixing flour into a wet mixture to make dough. Easy to clean, too. Thank you Pam!

Jessica Snead wrote for myrecipes blog about how to make No-knead French Rolls. She used a recipe from Sunset magazine from April 1997. It's a pretty simple and easy recipe with only six ingredients (if you include the water) and it makes great rolls. I decided to use it as a starting point for some bread today. It is mixed up in a bowl and you don't need a stand mixer, you don't have to know how to knead bread, and you end up with something that smells divine, tastes great, and gives you the satisfaction and pleasure of knowing you made it yourself.

You will probably have everything in your pantry with, perhaps, the exception of active dry yeast. You can purchase that at the market. Usually it comes in three packets attached to each other - you use one packet for this recipe.

The only tip that I feel impelled to give you about baking yeast bread is to remember that too much heat will kill the yeast. This recipe calls for melted butter. Melt it and let it cool before using. It also calls for warm water. The water should be barely above skin temperature. All of the other ingredients should be at room temperature. Today our room temperature was about 67 degrees F. Some days it's cooler and some warmer, but today was the perfect day for making bread. The only other tip is to allow time. Sometimes the dough takes longer to rise.

The original recipe uses active dry yeast, water, sugar, melted butter, salt and bread flour. I played around with it some by using a half cup bread flour, a cup of Irish style whole wheat flour, and the rest unbleached all-purpose flour. The dough was a little sticky at first, but the whole wheat flour absorbed some of the moisture during the first rise. It still was what I think of as a slack tends to slump when shaped. If you are making rolls as the recipe calls for that isn't a problem...they will rise more in the oven (which is called oven spring) and make lovely rolls.

I decided to divide the dough in half and make two logs. Since I was baking them in the toaster/convection oven which is 12" deep, I ended up curving the logs to fit the pans. By doing this instead of rolls, we could slice off as little or as much bread as we wanted.

Sweetie really enjoyed his slice of bread and had it for dinner with hamburger. I made mine into a veggie & chicken sandwich and had it with some veggie soup for dinner. Really delicious and easy enough to do the first parts (mixing and rise and shaping and rise) in between painting trim at the farmhouse and running errands. Give it a try and tell me what you think. Summer cookouts are coming and homemade rolls for burgers or sausage really raise the level of your BBQ game!

No-Knead French Rolls
makes 16 rolls

1 package active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine, cooled
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups all-purpose or bread flour

In a large bowl, combine yeast, 1 1/2 cups warm water (about 110 degrees F - barely warm to the touch),  sugar, butter and salt; let stand about 5 minutes. Stir in flour until well blended. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a clean shower cap and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled, 45 minutes - an hour.

Punch down dough. On a heavily floured board, cut dough into 16 equal pieced. (If you have a bench scraper, this is a good time to use it.) Roll or gather each piece into a ball' place 2 - 3 inches  apart on greased baking sheets, baking sheets with silicone baking mats, or lined with parchment. Cover lightly with greased plastic wrap and let rise until almost doubled, 10 - 20 minutes.

Uncover and bake in a preheated 400 degree F oven  until golden brown, 1 - 18 minutes. Serve warm or cool. If making ahead, store airtight at room temperature up to the next day. Reheat, uncovered, in a 350 degree F oven until warm, about 5 minutes.

Playing Around:
You can mix up the kinds of flour as long as you have approximately 4 cups. Add the last 1/2 cup slowly so that you can see if the dough needs all the flour.
If you shape your dough into two logs as I did, they will take about 25 minutes to bake.
Freshly baked bread smells so good that you just want to slice it right from the oven! Resist. Let the bread cool 10-15 minutes at least. Even better is to let it cool completely and then reheat as described at the bottom of the recipe.


  1. Anonymous9:51 PM

    I won this hand dough mixer tool some years back, still brand new! Going to dig it up from wherever I stashed, and use!!


  2. What beautiful bread - and that sandwich looks fantastic!

    We got our dough whisk a couple of years ago. I was surprised at how very useful it is and now, I wouldn't consider mixing bread dough without it. It's THE best, isn't it?