Monthly Archives: December 2019

30 Dec 2019: Back to Basics: No Knead Bread

DSC_0022-1I used to bake bread all of the time and, for a while, I was the proud owner of a bread bucket courtesy of my mother-in-law which we used to turn out several loaves of bread at a time.

While bread-making doesn’t intimidate me, I fell out of the habit sometime when I went back to school and only occasionally made bread until I discovered this recipe for No Knead Bread which was originated by Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery. And while the original is delicious, the improved loaf suggested by Cook’s Illustrated in this post on Epicurious is genius. Who knew adding beer and vinegar would make bread better?

This is not a recipe that can be rushed. I usually start the dough about 18 hours before I’d like to bake, which can be a challenge for busy schedules! But trust me, the end result is well worth the planning.

Cook’s Illustrated Almost No Knead Bread

Downloaded from Epicurious.com (October 1, 2015)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups (15 ounces) all purpose or bread flour (I used King Arthur unbleached)
  • 1/4 tsp. instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. (7 ounces) water at room temp
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. (3 ounces) mild flavored lager (Budweiser for the win)
  • 1 Tbs. white vinegar

Method:

  1. Whisk flour, yeast and salt in large bowl. Add water, beer and vinegar. Using rubber spatula, fold mixture, scraping up dry flour from bottom of bowl until shaggy ball forms.
  2. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 18 hours.
  3. Lay 12- to 18-inch sheet of parchment paper inside 10-inch skillet and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead 10 to 15 times. Shape dough into ball by pulling edges into middle. Transfer dough, seam-side down, to parchment-lined skillet and spray surface of dough with nonstick cooking spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until dough has doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with finger, about 2 hours.
  4. About 30 minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place 6- to 8-quart heavy-bottomed Dutch oven (with lid) on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Lightly flour top of dough and, using razor blade or sharp knife, make one 6-inch long, 1/2-inch deep slit along top of dough.
  5. Carefully remove pot from oven and remove lid. Pick up dough by lifting parchment overhang and lower into pot (let any excess parchment hang over pot edge). Cover pot and place in oven. Reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake covered for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove lid and continue to bake until loaf is deep brown and instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 210 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes longer.
  7. Carefully remove bread from pot; transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.

A Quebecois Treat for Christmas

DSC_0017-1Baked from “Sap Happy” written by OLIVER SCHWANER-ALBRIGHT. New York Times, March 2, 2008

I’m sure there are other more traditional sweets from my husband’s Québécois heritage that we could roll out for the holidays, but this one was a special family request: Sugar Pie (always Maple) or Tarte au Sucre.  It ticks all of the boxes for Québécois delights – maple sugar and fat, in this case butter and cream.

While we’ve both enjoyed my mother-in-law’s recipes for sugar pie – she had two – but this one from Chantal Séquin seems to be more a more traditional take on the tarte au sucre we’ve sampled in Montréal, so we went with that this holiday season.

Joyeaux Noël!

Tarte au Sucre (Maple Syrup Pie) based on a recipe by Chantal Séquin

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 5 tablespoons butter, cubed
  • 3 tablespoons ice water

For the filling:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup maple syrup, preferably medium dark

Crème fraîche, for serving.

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Make the crust (we’ve also used a good quality pre-made crust, especially handy for those who are pastry-challenged) by combining the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Cut the butter into the flour with a fork or pastry blender until the mixture is the texture of coarse meal. Sprinkle a tablespoon of ice water at a time over the dough, lifting and tossing it with the fork. When it begins to come together, gather the dough, press it into a ball and then pull it apart. If it crumbles in your hands, it needs more water. Add a teaspoon or two more water, as needed.

2. Flatten the ball of dough and roll between two sheets of plastic wrap into a circle 10 inches in diameter. Remove the plastic and lay the dough into a 9-inch tart pan, press into place and remove excess dough. Place in the freezer.

3. Meanwhile, make the filling by beating the eggs in a bowl. Gradually whisk in the flour. Add the cream and maple syrup and whisk until combined.

Pour into the crust-lined pan. (Helpful hint: protect the crust edges with foil to prevent burning). Cook until the middle still jiggles but is solid, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve with crème fraîche.

Serves 12.

 

 


%d bloggers like this: