Update on the no-knead bread

I tried the all-day approach to the no knead bread the other day and it worked superbly! I put it together about 8am and left it all day. Just before going to bed I knocked it back and popped it into its tin, then it sat and rose all night. In the morning, I put the oven on when I got up and we had fresh, beautiful bread for breakfast. Fantastic! The only thing you have to bear in mind is that the bread really does need to cool down before you can slice it. If you try to tackle it while it’s hot, you just mash it! If you aren’t rushing out in the morning, this would make a great start to the day. After all, it’s already in its tin when you get up: all you have to do is heat the oven and pop it in for half an hour.

The really brilliant thing about this way of making bread is that, while it takes a long time to do its stuff, you don’t have to be there holding its hand, nor do you have to put any real effort into making it. 1o minutes at the start and about 5 minutes in the middle is all it takes. You don’t use the power of a bread maker all night; you don’t even have to put it somewhere warm! How easy is that?!

Even more important, the taste and texture of the finished loaf is fabulous. This is bread like it just isn’t in the shops. When I was small, we lived in Switzerland for a while and there was a baker in a nearby village who still made traditional bread in a wood-fired oven (also the most heavenly mille-feuille you could ever imagine, but I digress!). The bread had an amazing open, light texture combined with a full flavour. Now I know what he was doing: he was letting it rise slowly and for ages. This is the way to make fantastic bread, without having to invest hours of effort into it.

I now have two bread tins and on a week when I cannot get into town to buy bread or when we have visitors and the bread consumption goes up, I have the tins going in rotation. One is started off overnight, then knocked back in the morning and baked for lunch, while the next goes in for an all day rise, is knocked back at bed-time and baked off for breakfast next day. And so on and so on…

The next thing to try, is making it into little rolls. Now they could well be eatable hot as you could tear them open and let the spread melt. Mmm!

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