Saturday, June 20, 2015

"take five" knead bread

No pictures of "takes 1,2,3 & 4" as you've seen one cowpat you've seem them all, right!  This super easy - so simple a four year old can make it - bread caused this 40(ish) woman a lot of grief!

The first four attempts tasted great, they just looked flat.  At first I followed the original Jim Lahey recipe but my dough was very runny - not sure I correctly gauged 1 5/8 cup of liquid as I don't have a 5/8 increment on my measuring cup. Other sites give 1 1/2 cups of water and even 375ml, which was way to much! Given that this bread is commonly hailed as fool proof, I began to trouble shoot - staring from where I'm at!  1020m (3346ft) above sea level which in the realms of culinary alchemy often calls for  some small modifications to established recipes.  In this case less rising time and oddly enough less liquid.  After researching bread making at altitude - 3000ft and over - it would appear that often more liquid is necessary.  Also I'm not quite sure the flour we have here in France is the same as in the US, we don't have 'all purpose flour' which seems to be common place stateside.  Here our flours are mainly classed by number - 55 for cakes and biscuits, 65 for white bread, with the numbers gradually increasing 80, 110, 130 for wholemeal.   I settled on two cups of 65 and one cup 110, for 1/4 tsp instant yeast, 1 1/2 tsp salt for just a little less than 1 1/3 cup water.  10 hours for the first rising and 1 1/2 for the second.

I'm now happy enough with the result.  I think next time if I carefully place the dough in my dutch oven rather than just 'plopping' it in, I might just get the perfect round shape I so desire!

On the up side I've had a few first time success's in the kitchen, which helped temper the bread 'hicups':

Lemon & Mint Syrup

Left Over Oatmeal Muffins
'Nut-emma' - hazelnut/chocolate spread

'Nutella' is making the headlines in France right now after Ségoléne Royal - the environmental minister - trashed the product claiming that it contained very few nuts and lots of saturated fat and emulsifiers (you don't say!).  Her claims don't sit well with 54% of the french population, who believe she is wrong to site one particular product as 'un-healthy'.   Personally I've never bought the stuff 'cause it tastes like grease and my kids don't like it.  They do like, however, the homemade version - which contains LOTS of nuts, cacao powder, maple syrup and a little water.

So what's cookin in your kitchen lately?
Have you tried the No knead Bread experience?


  1. Well, we made blueberry pancakes this morning, and hope to stir-fry some of our garden peas. Not much else. I've never tried the no knead bread yet. It looks great!

  2. Beautiful bread Emma. What an interesting fact about flour, that is not something I ever would have thought about.
    I usually bake sourdough bread in the winter, but during the summer it's just too hot here.
    My son loves nutella!

  3. I am coming over for a snack because everything you have made looks very yummy.

  4. The bread looks fantastic, makes my mouth water a bit. ;-) Would you share your homemade Nutella recipe? Our youngest loves the stuff and I wonder if she'd like the homemade version as well or better. I've been experimenting with gluten free breads and there have been some epic fails here as well.

    1. Hi Anke
      here's the recipe, it's from the deliciously ella cook book:
      2 mugs hazelnuts (375g)
      1/2 mug maple syrup (150ml)
      3 tbsp raw cacao powder
      (i use cups instead of her mugs)
      preheat oven to 200°
      Bake the hazelnuts for 10 minutes, then let them cool.
      Once cool place them in a food processor and blend for 10 mins
      Add the maple syrup and cacao and blend again before gradually pouring in 1/2 mug of water (it's important that the first three ingredients are properly mixed before you add the water)

      Bon appetit!

  5. I am afraid I cheat with the bread I use a bread making machine, but it does taste good without all the work.

  6. Thanks for the recipe (I was going to ask!). I've not baked no-knead bread but have it on my summer to do list. Thanks for sharing!
    x Lisa :)

    1. Oops, forgot to ask how you make your lemon mint syrup and what you use it for...we have a lot of mint and would love to have another way to use it. Thanks! :)

    2. Hi Lisa
      We mainly drink the syrup diluted in water.
      Here's the recipe I use:
      4 oz fresh mint
      2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
      1 1/2 cups sugar
      2 cups water
      Combine the chopped herbs and the lemon juice with 1 tbsp of the sugar in a small bowl. Mash these ingredients with a spoon or your fingers and set aside.
      Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan, then remove from the heat. Stir in the remaining sugar and continue to stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the herb mixture through a fine meshed sieve into a jar or bottle and let cool.

  7. That all looks delicious! I used to make no-need bread a few years ago...after much trial and error, also--it was delicious, but I guess the pressure to keep a batch of dough at the ready in the fridge got to be too much. Maybe this winter I'll pull the book out again and give it another go (again with the trial and error, I'm sure). I want to hear more about Nut-EMMA!! I sometimes buy the organic, Italian version of Nutella (Nicolata, I think), but at around $7 a jar, I don't buy it very often. I have been cooking very little lately--with the blah spring produce and baseball games and practices most evenings, I forget how to cook this time of year, but over the weekend I made saag paneer from scratch, using spinach and chard from our garden. It felt so good to cook something real again!!

  8. Your bread looks wonderful! You've inspired me to try making some "nutella".

  9. That homemade Nutella sounds so much better!! Thank you so much for the lovely postcard, it was beautiful! I've never been to France, but did study a bit in school (and funny enough - I chose it because of the Nutella on bread! :).
    Thanks again for the mail!