Loafing Around: No-Knead Bread

They say that man cannot live on bread alone. That’s why I gave this post an UNBELIEVABLY CHEESY title. Now when I read it back, it makes me rather sick to my stomach  cringe.

I bought some yeast quite a while ago, and got myself a loaf pan. But I only got down to trying my hand at baking bread this week. I did not have bread flour, only atta or stone ground whole wheat flour which is used to make chappatis and rotis. I searched and found a cool recipe for a no-knead bread, using atta flour.

I was a little afraid of this; because even now, when I bake, I do go by instinct at times, pinching and tweaking recipes as I go along…perhaps I’ve just been lucky that most of those recipes have come out well.

I don’t have a kitchen thermometer, (or any thermometer in the house, I’ve just realized- not even one for the baby! Must change that…) and I was not sure if the tepid water I had to add to the yeast would be the right temperature.

But, I took a deep breath and followed the rest of the directions and put everything in the oven and prayed it would be ok. And for a first attempt, it was not bad at all. A rather crusty bread, and the original recipe described it as such, so I guess I did something right.

Oh, and since I believe in tweaking every recipe I can lay my hands on, I added some of that bhuna jeera powder to the dough. Just for fun.

NO-KNEAD CUMIN BREAD (Adpated from Jugalbandi.)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups 100% atta flour (I used Ashirwad atta, if you do not live in India, then look for atta flour that says 100%)
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 cup lukewarm water (the recipe calls for temperatures between 95 F to 105 F)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons bhuna jeera

METHOD

  • Combine the atta flour, salt and bhuna jeera in a large, airtight seal-able container.
  • Mix the lukewarm water and the yeast in a bowl and let it sit for a few minutes till it starts getting bubbly.
  • Add this liquid mix to the atta flour. Stir with a wooden spoon; you will most probably need to add more water. The dough is supposed to be a little stickier than usual- sticky enough so that it would be a tad difficult shaping it into a loaf- definitely looser than regular chappati dough.
  • Seal the lid of the dough and let it sit on your kitchen countertop for 2 hours until the dough doubles in size. By this point, the dough had gotten pretty stringy and had indeed doubled in size.
  • What I did next, was shape it on a floured surface, and let it sit in a warm place, covered with a tea towel, for another 1.5 hours.
  • Then, I simply pre-heated my oven to 240 C, pressed the dough into a buttered loaf pan, and baked it for 50 minutes.

I realized that I forgot to add this- I sprinkled some naachni or finger millet over the top. They look very similar to mustard seeds, and because I sometimes am in a hurry and don’t bother to read labels at grocery stores, I had some in the kitchen.

And my loaf pan is blue!! I realize it looks a little alien in this picture.

Crusty? Yes. Tasty? Quite. Perfect? Far from it. But it’s a start.