Bad habits are easy to come by in your 20s aren’t they? Smoking, drinking, late nights. Suddenly you hit your 30s, responsibilities and all that and before you know it you’re regularly eating your 5 a day and going to bed at 10pm. I love my grown up life but just sometimes I find a little joy in the odd bad habit.
So here it is, my I’m-33-(nearly)-and-I-just-don’t-care crazy habit: a slab of cold butter topped with Maldon Sea Salt on a hunk of freshly baked bread. Wild huh? That’s how I roll these days.
Ice cold butter gently succumbing to warm home-baked bread, glistening crystals of salt just asking to be crunched? Is there anything more satisfying? (Actually don’t answer that.)
If you’re lacking in time, but still have a daydream of being domestic god or goddess, this is your answer. I think the original no knead bread recipe was in the New York Times, there’s a thousand variations all over the internet. This is my take on it using my favourite Shipton Mill flour. I also use grams rather than the traditional cups as that’s how my brain works best.. It’s not a light bread, it’s dense and full of flavour with a chewy crust. It’s fantastic toasted and topped with scrambled eggs and smoked salmon.
You do need to bake this bread in a lidded pan. I used my gorgeous new Chasseur cast iron pan but have often made it in a normal metal saucepan with a lid. The bread won’t rise a huge amount as it’s fairly heavy so just use a small casserole dish to give a nice round shape. If you use a very large dish the bread will spread and be quite a flat shape. No less tasty, but just a little bit more difficult to slice.
- 750g Shipton Mill Organic Light Malthouse Flour (or use half and half, strong white bread flour and strong wholemeal bread flour)
- 50g mixed seeds
- 3 tsp fine sea salt
- 7g fast action yeast
- 500ml warm water
- (plus extra flour for sprinkling)
- Mix all of the ingredients (apart from the extra flour for sprinkling) well in a very large bowl.
- Cover with clingfilm and leave over night (8 - 12 hours).
- In the morning, the dough should have doubled in size (maybe more) and look bubbly.
- Preheat your oven as hot as it will go (probably about 220C) and pop your lidded dish into the oven.
- Allow the dish to preheat for 30 minutes.
- Lay a clean teatowel onto your worksurface and sprinkle it really well with flour.
- When the pan is very hot, carefully remove from the oven and take the lid off.
- Carefully tip your dough out onto the floured tea towel (you may need to scrape the edges of the bowl to release it).
- Gently ease the bread, using the tea towel to help, into the very hot tin. Be careful not to touch the tin! Try not to touch the dough too much as it will be very sticky.
- Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on, then remove the lid and bake for a further 30 minutes or until the bottom of the bread, when tipped out and tapped, sounds hollow.
Leave to go cold before slicing, unless you are craving a bad habit like me, in which case, go for your life and dig in.
What’s your bad habit? To knead or not to knead?
Disclosure: This fantastic Chasseur cast iron casserole dish was sent to me by the people at Viking Direct Cook Shop. You can find a whole host of kitchen and tableware on their website here.
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