Kneading. It’s the one techniques that holds the most mystique in the bread making process. People agonize whether they’re doing it right, for long enough or with too little/too much firmness. (Parallels with certain bedroom activities may be made at your own leisure, but not gone into further here…)
If you don’t have a mixer, or are befuddled by the hands-on technique, or maybe you plain just can’t knead full-stop (for whatever reason that may be), you’ll be glad to know that Eve discovered a recipe for bread that involves ZERO kneading effort at all – but still manages to produce a very fine loaf indeed.
It’s a good, solid, nourishing loaf that puts airy-fairy, crappy supermarket bread to shame.
Ingredients:400g Strong White Bread Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Instant Dried Yeast
1 Teaspoon Sea Salt (Don’t skimp on salt quantities, this loaf needs it.)
300ml Tepid Water
Equipment:Baking Parchment A stout Casserole Dish
1) Mix all ingredients together in a bowl with a spoon until you get a wet-ish doughy looking mass, cover the bowl with cling film and leave for 12-18 hours at room temperature
2) After 12 or so hours time (or up to 18, the dough is quite forgiving) get your oven on and warming up to as high as it will go (somewhere around 230C/450F is ideal)
3) Place a decent, solid casserole dish and lid in to the oven to warm: Pyrex, cast-iron or whatever is ideal…as long as it can take the temperature. The oven should take about 30 minutes to come up to baking heat
4) Now flour your work-surface with a fair dusting of flour – this dough can be quite damp. Tip the dough out of the bowl and onto the floured surface. Work the dough by gently pulling the edges out and folding them back over onto the dough ball. You only need to do this a couple of few times.
5) Now turn the dough over and form into a ball by putting the backs of your hands flat on the work surface and bringing them together smartly under the dough ball a few times until you get a rough ball shape. Leave this to rest on the workstop until the oven and casserole dish are hot – you can cover the dough ball lightly with cling film if you like, but we don’t bother – as it’s a bugger when it sticks to the dough
6) Take the, by now hot, casserole dish out of the oven and remove the lid. Put a square of baking parchment in the bottom and place your dough ball on top of that. Flick a little cold tap water from your fingertips onto the top of the dough ball (or use a clean water spray/atomiser sort of thing, if you’ve got it) and quickly put the lid back on. Water makes steam and steam makes crust…
7) Put the casserole dish back into the oven and set your timer to bake your bread for 30 mins. Leave it alone to cook. Don’t be tempted to peek. Just let it do it’s thing.
8) After 30 mins, remove the lid of the casserole dish and put the uncovered loaf back into the oven for another 15 mins so that it will brown nicely.
9) When the 15 mins have passed, remove the loaf from the casserole dish and leave to cool on a wire rack.
10) Enjoy warm with butter and jam, or with a load of cheese – God bless our waistlines…