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Sourdough No-Knead Bread

February 22, 2010

Does anyone remember the no-knead bread recipe published in the NY Times a few years back? My husband and I fell in love with it and I still make it frequently.

I’ve thought about growing my own sourdough starter on and off for years, and now that I’m staying home it seemed to be the perfect time.  I saw Donielle’s instructions, which seemed easy enough. After making my starter and failing at a few different recipes, I thought how no-knead bread would be perfect in sourdough format. Since I made my starter with a 1:1 ratio, I reduced both the flour and water from the original by half a cup, then added 1 cup of starter.  This came out perfectly–almost the same as the original, only a little more sour.

Stu and I also like this bread with rosemary–I add about 1 tablespoon to the dough at the beginning.  This bread is perfect for dipping; our favorite accompaniment is olive oil splashed with some balsamic vinegar.

Sourdough No-Knead Bread

Adapted from the NY Times; I left the directions from the original recipe intact

Yields one 1 1/2 pound loaf

2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour, more for dusting
1 cup sourdough starter (my starter is white whole wheat; use the same flour that you used for your starter)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, sourdough starter and salt. Add 1 1/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450°F. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

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