Sunday, February 14, 2010

No-knead bread tutorial - Rustic, crusty, tasty, yum!

3 posts today- I think that's a record for me!

Inspired by Jacqui's post last week, I just had to give this a try. (Thanks Jacqui!)

Check out this youtube link to watch a how-to-make No Knead Bread.

Basically it is a simple flour/yeast/salt/water recipe, mixed up and left overnight (or at least 12 hours) and baked hotter than usual. The link will tell you more, but I also wanted to add a few hints and my own result.

It produces a fabulous ciabatta style loaf, and I am very proud of my first effort!

Yes, it is supposed to be cracked and rough!

I have baked bread before, both hand baking and using my bread machine (picked up on freecycle) but lately my machine-bread has been collapsing in the top (no reason) and my hand baking has always been a bit hit-and-miss. Edible, but not worth shouting about. Or blogging about. And while I find the whole process enjoyable, I rarely have the time to bake from scratch.

But THIS .... THIS I like. It has that real rustic home-baked look, a super-crusty crust and soft, holey middle. Perfect for drizzling olive oil on, or for jam to fall into those holes!

A few things I did that I think the youtube video may not explain -

I covered my mixture loosely with cling film and a tea-towel when it sat overnight (room temp)
I very lightly 'punched down' when shaping and flouring it
I let it sit for another half hour, didn't rise much then, but did HEAPS in the oven.
Then baked at 250c in a preheated pyrex casserole dish (lid on)

and don't be surprise if it doesn't look like usual bread dough when you first make it - it is really, really gooey!

My dough after overnight rise - looks like glue! Even after turning out, it was sticky and gloopy. Hmmm, I was worried....!

Looking better -shaped into a rough round and a generous dusting with wholemeal flour

Still hot in the dish -baked seam side up to get that cracked crust!

If you haven't baked bread before, give it a go - this is SO EASY ! Honestly, young kids can do the mixing (if you don't mind some serious mess!) First part takes less than 5 minutes, next day takes maybe another 5 mins, then into the oven. I am going to try to make one every weekend, evening prep for lunch the next day.

Beats supermarket bread anyday. You'll even have the local baker worried!  

Wyandotte update!

Feeling a bit chooky ..... feel the need to post some new pics ...... :-)

Wyandottes taking shelter from the rain last weekend on our back deck.

Check out Silvie the fluffball at the front! Not even laying yet but I'm sure she looks like she'd make a fine broody hen, all puffed up like that, I can just imagine her guarding her clutch of eggs...... !

Here she is again, just to prove she can walk upright, and is not infact, just a ball of feathers. And she does have a neck.

Perfect lacing, such a beauty. Looks very straight backed for a wyandotte on this photo, but she is actually curvier.

Wyandottes are "The Bird of Curves' according to poultry standards, and should be basically 'soccer ball' shaped, with their tails, legs and head outside the circle. Maybe she was practising in the first photo!

B.G. - the original gold chick, who then turned completely black, who then decided to grow some gold again. Reminds me of someone dyeing their hair, trying different colours to see what suits!

Mostly her lacing is quite 'peppery' in breeders terms, but her chest is lacing up lovely, and she is still molting and deciding just how much gold she would like.

And the natural blonde, like a true blonde is getting a little darker as she ages and also a sprinkle of grey LOL!

Lastly, here is Mr Handsome himself .... growing some beautiful gold hackle and saddle feathers, and his 'blue' in his blue-laced-gold is so truly blue. Legs so yellow you'd think I'd painted them (another Wyandotte standard) Hopefully the girls won't be able to resist his charms.....! And still not crowing - I can't believe my luck, though probably jinxed it now.

They are 17 weeks now, the girls looking much redder than they did even last week, in their combs and little wattles. Getting ready for laying.... a few weeks away maybe, but definitely getting ready.....!

Recent rains

It is a little late, but I thought I'd post a few photos of our recent downpours .....

This is what happened to our backyard (and has again several times since this photo was taken) The photo doesn't show very well, but we had gushing surface water spilling down our backyard.

Although we do have a lot more grass than we did last year when the chooks made a moon-scape, we still had a huge amount of run-off and it all pooled when it reached the brick wall of our house .....

There is only so much water the earth can hold before it is totally saturated, then of course the rest gets washed down the slope as run-off.

Mother nature does not like patches of bare earth, and the recent rains have shown how much more destructive they can be without anything to slow the speeding water. Although we have a lot of tree canopy cover, we also have areas with nothing beneath the soil to drink up the water.
So now, where our grass was successfully growing back, it currently looks like this .... little tufts hanging on for life among the sandy, gravelly soil.

We were also affected, like many other mountain residents recently, by the landslides due to the rains, and the resulting road closures and train derailment. Fortunately no major problems from these, just inconvenience.
Still, on the upside, our local park, which usually has a trickling waterfall at the top, is now in full-flow and looks fabulous.