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No-Knead Baguettes

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© 2010 Helana Brigman
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I’m going to be entirely honest.  Bread-Making scares me! No matter how many times I’ve made a loaf of bread, it comes out thick, chewy, and (un)clearly delicious.  Until recently, I  had given up entirely on any future prospect that I would be able to bake my own bread.  I would just be one of those cooks who’s good at cooking everything…with the exception of bread.

This was the case until….well…until Jim Lahey came along.

Jim Lahey is the owner of Sullivan Street Bakery in New York City and although formally taught at SUNY for sculpting, he received most of his formal baking education in Italy.  Although I don’t know Jim Lahey personally, I feel as if he has shared the biggest Yoda-Padwan trick ever known to me as a cook: bread does not have to be kneaded. As a matter of fact, good bread seldom requires kneading.

Say what????

Yes, it’s true.  Good bread does not require kneading.  Take a moment if you must.   Or, if you don’t believe me, try this example of a no-knead bread that is oh so clearly delicious: soft and flavorful bread encased with a crunchy (but not too crunchy) crust.  Best made as four loaves with your favorite toppings (olives, garlic, tomatoes, jalapenos) and sprinkled with kosher salt, these baguettes can be eaten by themselves without butter.  That’s just how good they are.

No-Knead Baguettes

I came across Jim Lahey’s recipe at Jaden Hair’s food blog Steamy Kitchen (her version can be found here).  Although Lahey fans will need to buy his book My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Knead, No Work Method, this loaf is a great place to start experimenting.  Prepare ingredients the night before you plan to make the bread and shizam! Amazing bread 10-18 hours later.


* 3 cups bread flour

* 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast

* 1/2 tsp table salt

* 3/4 tsp sugar

* 1 1/2 cups cool water (55-65F)

* 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (for dough ball and loaves)

* 3/4 tsp kosher salt (for dusting)

* Your choice of toppings: olives, garlic cloves, jalapeno peppers, or tomatoes

* water

1.) Prepare dough the night before: add flour, salt, sugar, yeast, and water to a bowl.  Mix with a wooden spoon (about 30 seconds to a minute) until a sticky dough forms.  Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature over night.  You will prep the loaf 10-18 hours later.

2.) 10-18 hours later: remove sticky dough from pan and set on a lightly floured surface.  Knead dough several times and return to bowl seam-side down.   Brush surface with olive oil and wrap once more with plastic wrap.  Leave to sit for 1-2 more hours while the dough rises once more.

3.) Preheat oven to 500F and grease a baking sheet.  Lightly flour your working surface and add dough ball.

4.) Quarter dough ball with a sharp knife.

5.) Stretch each quarter of dough to the shape of a baguette.  Brush with olive oil and decorate with choice of toppings (or not).  Sprinkle with kosher salt.

6.) Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350F, or until crust is golden brown.  Allow to sit on pan for an additional 5 minutes before plating.  Makes 4 baguettes.  Enjoy!

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3 Trackbacks

  1. […] Thus, I was floored and thrilled when I came across this simple marinated eggplant towards the end of Jim Lahey’s book My Bread: The No-Work, No-Knead Method.  Currently, I am undertaking the very ambitious goal of cooking my way through Lahey’s book, but until I have mastered all of the breads, Lahey offers some easy, flavorful bread toppers for sandwiches, pizzas, and rolls.  This marinated eggplant is a clearly delicious entree by itself, or an even better sandwich topper when mixed with one of Lahey’s easy, fresh baguettes. […]

  2. By Homemade Is Best #3 – Bread Part 1 on February 28, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    […] Hungry Girl on turkey Cast Iron Dutch Oven Clay Bakers Bigger clay baker Cheddar Jalapeno Recipe No knead baguettes on Clearly Delicious So easy, a kid could do it Cheddar cheese […]

  3. […] down, allow for a second rise around two hours, roll out and bake.  See my previous post on “No-Knead Baguettes” for an example of this simple, satisfying […]

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