Sunday, January 30, 2011

Love is all you knead

It might not always come through, but The Kitchen Front is no one-man show. In fact, this blog and my love for cooking probably wouldn't exist at all without my partner in cuisine and life, D.

When we met, I was really rather hopeless in the kitchen. I had a handful of go-to recipes, but not much skill, imagination or, if the truth be told, really much interest in cooking. D. changed all of that. Her passion for food was infectious and her encouragment and advice kindled my love of cooking. Plus, she came with these amazing Le Crueset pots.

Now we're a team, whether its gushing over cookbooks together, talking about recipes and restaurants we want to try, or preparing meals in a kitchen pas de deux. Many of the creations you see here are as much hers as mine, and I wanted to give her the credit she deserves and thank her for the gift of the past seven years.

No-Knead Bread Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery, via the New York Times

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

1 comment:

  1. That's so sweet! And I don't just mean the bread.