No Knead Walnut - Cranberry Bread
If you do not have Jim Lahey's book "My Bread" in your cooking library it is high time to get it. The recipes in the book is just fantastic and the bread it out of this world.
This bread takes a bit of time and patience but very little work. My own version of the "No Knead Bread" is my Walnut Cranberry bread. It is a big hit and everyone asks for the recipe. The purpose of using a cast iron pot is to mimic the intense heat of a wood fired oven. You also need a good kitchen scale.
Here is the recipe.
- 400 grams of white bread flour (plus extra for dusting)
- 80 grams of dried cranberries
- 55 grams of walnuts (you can leave them the way they come out of the bag. The smallest you want to go is ⅓ size)
- 1 tsp of salt
- ½ tsp of yeast
- ⅛ - ¼ tsp of fresh ground black pepper
- 350 grams of water
- 4 plus liter cast iron pot with lid
- large bowl
- wooden spoon
- kitchen scale
- measuring spoons
- parchment paper
- cutting board
- 3 coasters (to put hot pot and lid on)
- gloves for oven (you need a good pair, almost like welding gloves)
- cooling rack
I have found that 18 hrs is about the best. I call this the first rise or fermentation period. At the 18 hour stage the dough is full of bubbles.
After the first rise (18 hrs), rip off about 20 inches of parchment paper, lay flat on counter and dust the center of it with flour. Dust a large cutting board with flour. Now pour/scoop out the the sticky dough in one piece or lump. It will be quite runny and very sticky. Clean out the bowl or better yet have a second bowl ready.
Fold over the dough from side to side making a ball tucking the ends underneath. Set on the parchment paper, lift the dough using the parchment paper and set back into the clean bowl. Dust generously with flour, cover with a dish towel and let sit for 2 hours at room temperature, this is the second rise.
For dusting I prefer whole wheat flour or bran or a mixture of both but you can use white flour or even corn meal. At about the 1.5 hrs mark in to the second rise, turn the oven on to 475-500° F and insert a cast iron pot with lid partially on.
After a further 30 minutes (or 2 hrs from start of second rise) your dough should be ready for baking and the oven up to temperature. This is where you need to be efficient and careful.
Put several large coasters on the counter, one for the hot pot and a second for the lid. Have the dough on the counter at this stage.
- Remove the hot pot using gloves from the hot oven, be very careful and don't hold on to the pot to long
- Remove lid using gloves
- Lift the dough using the parchment paper and set in cast iron pot "Gently Please"
- Return lid gently, don't worry about the parchment paper sticking out (you can cut it off with sizzors if you want, but not necessary)
- Return to the hot oven gently and close the oven door slowly
Remove cast iron pot with gloves and set on coaster, leaving your gloves on use wooden spoon and remove bread, set on cooling rack.
The bread will crackle a bit as it cools. Let cool at least 1 hr before cutting. I know it's hard to wait, but you will lose too much moisture out of the bread if you cut into it while too hot.
Store the bread in a paper bag or better yet a nice looking dish towel in a nice basket. Do not keep in plastic bag, you would loose the nice crust.