So the Hubs and I have been on a lower-carb eating plan for about the last three years. We started doing a slightly modified South Beach plan (I couldn’t give up orange juice) and have for the most part continued that. We do miss bread, though we’ve managed to keep it out of the house for quite some time.
All that was fine and good until I saw this recipe for No-Knead Sandwich Bread on Food52 a week or so ago… We’ve been eating soups quite a bit since the weather started to turn cooler, and I’ve been getting little mini-baguettes from the store for that and to take to events for lunch as well, but buying bread gets expensive and this recipe sounded so easy!
And it was! Mix up the dough with a wooden spoon, cover it, and let it sit for 5 hours or so. That’s it. No kneading. No “warm spot in your kitchen”. Just let it sit. I didn’t even put plastic wrap over the bowl, just a flour sack-style towel.
After that, you can either bake right away, or stick the whole thing in the fridge until you’re ready to go. The longer it sits, the better the flavor and texture will be! So I made up the dough on Thursday and let it sit overnight in the fridge until Friday, planning to have fresh bread with beef stew for Friday’s dinner.
The only thing I can say about this is to remember that, once you pull it out of the fridge on baking day, it will need some extra time to rise since the dough has to come to room temperature from the chill of the fridge. I think mine ended up sitting about two hours all told before I put it in the oven, and it still rose really nicely while baking.
The recipe also says to let the bread cool for at least an hour before slicing. Well, by the time it was done baking we wanted to eat! So this ended up cooling for about 30 minutes instead of the full hour, and boy howdy was it tasty! The crust was a light golden brown and had a nicely crunchy texture and the bread itself was moist, fragrant, and just slightly chewy. You can see here the interior is evenly marked with small pockets and it wasn’t too crumbly. There are a couple of larger bubbles that have shown up as we’ve been slicing, but nothing too giant. Hubs and I agreed that we could have just kept slicing and eating while the bread was warm, but we held ourselves to three pieces (including the heel) split between us.
We had a little more as grilled cheese sandwiches with homemade bean soup for dinner on Saturday and I spent a little time looking for small-scale bread pudding recipes to use up some of the rest.
The other good (or bad?) thing about this recipe is that it makes enough for two loaves and you don’t have to bake it all at once – the dough will keep for up to two weeks! I’ve got the other half of the dough in a bowl in the fridge right now. It will probably need to be deflated at some point – I can see that it’s risen quite a bit since yesterday – but it will be interesting to see how the longer resting time changes things on the next loaf. I may try making some cinnamon swirl bread out of it – something suggested by one of the commenters on the original recipe.