Whole Wheat Bread

When we visit Robert and Judy, we often get to sample Robert's latest delicious homemade bread.  Robert shared with me the NYTimes recipe he follows for no-knead bread. He uses this recipe (also below, with whole wheat) with all whole-wheat flour, but suggested that I use some white flour the first time. I bought a 6 qt enamel dutch this week for this purpose, using it for the first time yesterday to make a yummy mushroom white bean gratin. Today I gave the bread a go. It turned out great! Definitely doing this again.

Ingredients

1 C white flour
2 C whole wheat flour (or 1 C rye, 1 C whole wheat)
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt 
1 5/8 C water (note: maybe more with whole wheat)

Wheat bran or corn bran for dusting

optional additions to dough:
1 C chopped walnuts, OR
2 T finely chopped rosemary
1 C kalamata olives

Time needed: 18 hours + 2 hours + 40 min

Instructions

In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 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 hours, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees. (Let time do the work - longer is better.)

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. See the NY Times video on this page. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

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 with wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more wheat bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 more hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

A half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6-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 ok. 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 for about 30 minutes before cutting. Serve with butter!

Gathering the ingredients:


Mixed by hand, just enough to blend (careful not to overmix):


Dough resting and rising for the next 18 hours!


18 hours later... It was nice and stringy. I folded it twice and put it on a pastry cloth (gift from mom!) with flour and bran, and folded it up. Then I went to play tennis and left it for 2 more hours...


Back from tennis, put the cast iron dutch oven in 500 degrees for about 20 minutes, and then flipped the dough over into the hot pot, seam side up:


and 40 minutes later (30 min with lid on, 10 with off) it looked like this:


and after 30 minutes of cooling, we cut it; here's the inside; it was delish with butter!





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