No Knead Walnut Raisin Bread

11 Sep

If there’s one thing I do more than anything else at my job, it’s bread. I’m bread girl. Buns, baguettes, loaves, flatbreads, you name it, I make it. I’ve always got buns in the oven. It’s probably because my buns are irresistible. My bread’s pretty tasty too…

So…no doubt…I make my own bread at home…right?

Wrong.

I hardly ever do! Shame!

It’s not that I don’t WANT to…

It’s just that baking bread at home requires time, and effort, and equipment, that I just don’t have.

Usually I would run into two main problems; my oven not having enough moisture to develop a crisp crust, and my lack of time to let the bread rise properly.

Then I found this recipe. It’s a no knead method, meaning all I did was stir all the ingredients together and form a sticky dough, put it in a bowl, and let it sit for 18 hours.

Oh, and the walnut raisin combo with a hint of cinnamon? Genius. Magical.

KNEADLESS to say I’ll be making my own bread at home from now on. (Don’t roll your eyes, you loved that)

I threw walnuts and green raisins into the dough, along with some cinnamon. Feel free to play around with it. Hate raisins? How about sundried tomatoes and sunflower seeds? Onion poppyseed? Chocolate chip….?

Unattractive, I know. But it’s bread…it’s so awesome it doesn’t always need to look good until after it’s baked.

This is after the 18 hours

mmm…yeasty.

Next I had to form it gently into a round ball, and let it rise again on a floured tea towel for another two hours. No biggie.

The key here, is to bake the bread in a dutch oven. That is what gives you an amazingly crisp and beautifully developed crust.

Just look at this handsome devil. He’s so dreamy.

Minimal effort. Maximum results. That’s a dream come true.

No-Knead Walnut Raisin Bread

adapted from Jim Lahey’s “My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method.”

3 cups bread flour (I actually used 2 cups whole wheat bread flour to 1 cup bread flour only because I ran out. If you’d like the addition of whole wheat, I suggest only using 1 cup. My result was great, but a lot denser)

1/2 cup raisins

1 1/4 tsp table salt

3/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup walnuts

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 tsp instant or active dry yeast

pinch fresh ground pepper

wheat bran, cornmeal or additional flour for dusting  (I used cornmeal)

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, raisins, walnuts, salt, cinnamon, yeast, and pepper, mixing thoroughly. Add the water and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until you have a wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds. If it’s not really sticky to the touch, mix in another tablespoon or two of water. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough is more than doubled in size, 12 to 18 hours.

When the first rise is complete, generously dust a work surface with flour. Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece. Using lightly floured hands or a bowl scraper or spatula, lift the edges of the dough in toward the center. Nudge and tuck in the edges of the dough to make it round.

Place a tea towel on your work surface and generously dust it with wheat bran, cornmeal, or flour. Gently place the dough on the towel, seam side down. If the dough is tacky, dust the top lightly with wheat bran, cornmeal, or flour. Fold the ends of the tea towel loosely over the dough to cover it and place it in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours. The dough is ready when it is almost doubled. If you gently poke it with your finger, it should hold the impression. If it springs back, let it rise for another 15 minutes.

Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 475 degrees F, with a rack in the lower third, and place the covered heavy pot in the center of the rack.

Using pot holders, carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven and uncover it. Unfold the tea towel and quickly but gently invert the dough into the pot, seam side up. Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the lid and continue baking until bread is a deep chestnut color but not burnt, 15 to 30 minutes more (It took me about 15). Use a heatproof spatula or pot holders to gently lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool thoroughly.

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