Sample a Recipe from Kneadlessly Simple:
Fabulous, Fuss-Free, No-Knead Breads
Here’s one of the rustic, hearty breads from my latest book, Kneadlessly Simple. The snapshot at left is one I took of a loaf while I was testing. It got eaten before I could take a better pic! The pic at the top shows some slices being serving with the hearty ham soup here.
Due to the hops and malt in the ale, this homespun, seed-encrusted pot boule has a hearty flavor, faint bitterness, and the same light yeasty aroma that always seems to hover in brew pubs. The interior is somewhat holey, with a pretty pale, well, ale color. If you use sesame seeds (my preference though a multi-seed blend is nice, too) for garnishing the loaf, they will turn golden and give the bread a slight nuttiness and crunch. The pleasantly springy crumb makes it suitable for toast and sandwiches. Or, cut it into generous slabs and serve along with a hearty soup or stew. For another option try my crusty white pot boule. For a tasty savory quick bread instead of a yeast bread, click here.
If you’ve got questions on what sort of pot works well for yeasted pot breads, you’re not alone, so I’ve covered the topic here. This 5-minute video will answer some questions, too; click here.Sign up for my free newsletter and recipes: here. (The issues always include an exclusive recipe not published on my site, plus behind the scenes info on what happening at Kitchenlane.)
Tip: The bread usually doesn’t stick to seasoned plain or enameled cast iron, but if you aren’t sure about your pot, spritz the interior with a little nonstick spray immediately before you turn out the dough into it.
4 1/2 cups (22.5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose white flour, plus more if needed
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
Scant 2 teaspoons plain table salt
3/4 teaspoon rapid rising, bread machine or “instant,” yeast
1 12-ounce bottle well-chilled pale ale or beer
2/3 cup ice cold water, plus more if needed
Vegetable oil for coating dough top
1/4 cup sesame seeds or poppy seeds, or a blend of seeds for garnish
First rise: In a large bowl thoroughly stir together the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Vigorously stir in the ale and ice water, scraping down bowl sides completely and mixing until the bubbling subsides and the dough is thoroughly blended. If it is too dry to mix together, gradually stir in just enough more ice water to blend the ingredients; don’t over-moisten as the dough should be stiff. If necessary, stir in enough more flour to yield a hard-to-stir dough. Turn it out into a well-oiled 3-4 quart bowl. Brush or spray the top with oil. Tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap. If desired, refrigerate the dough for up to 10 hours; this is optional. Let rise at cool room temperature (about 70 degrees F) 12-18 hours; if convenient, vigorously stir once during the rise.
Second rise: Using an oiled rubber spatula, lift and fold the dough in towards the center all the way around until mostly deflated; don’t stir. Brush and smooth the dough surface with oil. Re-cover the bowl with nonstick spray-coated plastic wrap. Let rise using any of these methods: for a 1 1/2- to 21/2-hour regular rise, let stand at warm room temperature; for a 45-minute to 2-hour accelerated rise, let stand in a turned-off microwave along with 1 cup of boiling-hot water; or for an extended rise, refrigerate, covered, 4 to 24 hours, then set out at room temperature. Continue the rise until the dough doubles from the deflated size, removing the plastic if the dough nears it.
Baking Preliminaries: 20 minutes before baking time, put a rack in the lower third of the oven; preheat to 425 degrees F. Heat a 4-quart (or similar) heavy metal pot or Dutch oven or a deep 4-quart heavy, oven-proof saucepan in the oven until sizzling hot (check with a few drops of water), then remove it, using heavy mitts. Taking care not to deflate the dough, loosen it from the bowl sides with an oiled rubber spatula and gently invert it into the pot. Don’t worry if it’s lopsided and ragged-looking; it will even out during baking. Very generously spritz or brush the top with water, then sprinkle over the seeds. Immediately top with the lid. Shake the pot back and forth to center the dough.
Baking: Reduce the heat to 400 F.Bake on the lower rack for 55 minutes. Remove the lid. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer, or until the top is well browned and a skewer inserted in the thickest part comes out with just a few crumbs on the tip (or until the center registers 208 to 210 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Then bake for 5 minutes longer to ensure the center is baked through. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Remove the loaf to the rack. Cool thoroughly.
Makes 1 large loaf, 12 to 14 portions or slices.