November 20, 2006
Miracles All Around
No Knead Bread is taking over the blogs and why should everyone else have all the fun? If bread making could really be this easy, I wanted in on it. Ever since a New York Times article lauded this recipe for No Knead Bread as the new greatest thing, promising a perfect, crisp crust and no kneading, everyone has been trying it. Slashfood provided a list of just a few of the many, many bloggers who have made this bread. I first read about it on Joe Pastry and when he suggested that even I could make this bread turn out well, I moved the recipe to the top of my “to make” pile. And the fact that Joe Pastry finally included some pictures with this post, (which I’m so happy about because I love his blog and would like to see what all of the wonderful things he makes look like) made me even more sure that I needed, (no pun intended) to make this bread.
Much to my surprise, my bread actually turned out like everyone else’s, which is to say very good! The crust was exactly as predicted, crispy and bakery like, and it was really easy to make. The recipe required quite a lot of waiting time, but hardly any actual work. Basically it sits for about 20 hours. It couldn’t be easier. And there’s really no kneading involved, although you couldn’t knead it even if you tried, this dough is extremely sticky. The interesting part is that it’s baked in a preheated crock pot with the lid on. Here’s where I went slightly wrong. I can’t make any recipe without something going wrong, and here’s my warning for this one: Make sure your crock pot doesn’t taper at the top, therefore trapping your bread inside. Yeah… I had to crush one side of the bread in order to extract it from the pot. I suppose most people have a wonderful Le Creuset pot that would work perfectly for this occasion, sadly, I do not. The only other minor complaint I have about this bread is that it could use more flavour, (and I even added a little sugar because I can’t leave well enough alone) but the crust distracts you so that you don’t really notice that lack of flavour immediately. But it’s plain white bread, so how much flavour can you really get? I’m going to experiment with adding some different salts or spices or types of flour to see what happens. The first loaf I made, (I’ve already got a second loaf on the go as the first one was gobbled up in less than 24 hours) prior to putting it in the oven was almost more of a liquid than a dough so I reduced the liquid slightly in the second one and it’s looking much more dough like. The recipe can be found on the Slashfood site, Joe Pastry, or just about every other blog currently in existence. I’m always the last one to know when things are happening.
For my second miracle, I present to you another very easy and very good recipe, this time for a Chocolate, Caramel and Pecan Pie. At the beginning of October I attempted to make a Chocolate, Caramel and Walnut Tart (I actually used pecans)from the new issue of Bon Appetit. The end result was super tasty, but the route I took to get there included a whisk welding itself to a pan, mass amounts of hard caramel, grape juice boiling over on the stove and a very loud and annoying smoke alarm. It wasn’t exactly an experience I was rushing to repeat. Everyone loved it though. That meant I’ve had repeated hints to make it again. So last night when I inquired as to whether anyone had any preferences for what dessert I should make, the response I got was something like this: “Chocolate… or caramel… with pecans… chocolate, caramel and pecans.” Although I was well aware of what they wanted me to make, I was stubbornly refusing to give in. Instead I started perusing the Bon Appetit cookbook, trying to find another recipe that included chocolate, caramel and pecans, but that wouldn’t drive me to the brink of insanity. Success was found in the form of a Pecan, Caramel and Fudge Pie recipe that promised a no bake crust and a filling that only required 10 minutes in the oven. This recipe has a very similar taste to the other one but is ridiculously easy. It has a crumb crust rather than a dough crust, but I actually think I like that better in this case. The recipe called for crushed chocolate cookies but I used a combination of vanilla crumbs and graham crumbs, that’s what I had. Now, I’m generally pretty slow in the kitchen, I dawdle around, don’t get all my ingredients out at once, eat half the ingredients and have to get more, (you know how it is…) but I made and baked this pie in about 20 minutes, including baking time. Freaking amazing. And if you make this, everyone who tries it will love you. I’m sure they told you they loved you before they tasted your pie, but now they’ll actually mean it.
And here's one more great thing, that I should have taken a picture of, but didn’t, so I guess it’s not as great as it could have been for you, but I assure you, it was great for me. You’ll just have to believe in the miracles to trust that this was one impressive breakfast. Before I begin, I have to once again thank Linda of Kayak Soup for the wonderful package she sent me. I used her cranberry-apricot chutney and cranberry sauce to make Cranberry and Brie French toast. It was like decadence on top of decadence. The brie gets nice and gooey and when you add maple syrup on top of that, well basically I’m reduced to a drooling idiot, unable to take photographs.
Food + Bread + Baking + Chocolate + Recipe + Pie