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Speedy No-Knead Artisan Bread

January is National Baking Month, so even though I bake year-round (including microwave English Muffin Bread in summer), I thought it would be a good time to share this new (to me) speedy version of the no-knead bread I posted a few years ago. I came across Mark Bittman’s video last week showing how 1/4 teaspoon red wine vinegar and hot water reduces the 12-18 hour rise to 3-4 hours. Amazing! My family and I think the results are brilliant. Stir it up after lunch and it’s ready for dinner. 

There is a slight difference in the yeastiness of the speedy version. I find the long-rise a more mellow developed flavor, but both methods are excellent. I made a whole-wheat rosemary and a walnut-raisin loaf (perfect with PB&J), and will be trying this method with all the variations I shared in this post Easiest Ever No-Knead Artisan Bread. The recipe became a viral recipe-sharing chain with my friends showing their friends, which I shared in this post. They’re still telling me how much they enjoy their home-baked bread, which is exactly what Mark Bittman intended.

If you’re one of my previous bakers, or haven’t baked a loaf yet, give this speedy version a try!  I’d love to hear how either the original or the speedy version works for you.  Note the speedy version instructions up-date below.

Print This Recipe

No-Knead Country Wheat Bread – plain, walnut or raisin  

Prep time: 5 minutes   Rise time: 18-24 hours plus 30 minutes just before baking
Bake time:  45 minutes   Makes 1 loaf
A gram weight kitchen scale measures quickly and accurately, if you have one.

420 g     3    cups White bread flour (such as King Arthur brand or bulk)
  90 g  3/4    cup Whole wheat flour
  30 g  1/4    cup Oat bran, optional
    8 g  1-1/2 tsp Table salt
   1/4     tsp Rapid rise yeast (I use a generous 1/4 tsp.)
  70 g     1     cup Chopped walnuts, optional and/or 3/4 cup raisins
  14 fl oz  1-3/4 cup Water (cold tap water for slow rise, hot water for fast rise)

For a speedy version, with 3-4 hours rise vs 12-18 hours, use hot water (115-120F) and add 1/4 teaspoon red wine vinegar, per directions in video by Mark Bittman

1.  Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add walnuts and/or soaked grains if making multi-grain recipe. (See link for multi-grain recipe and step-by-step photos.)

2.  Stir in water with a wooden spoon. (For speedy rise, use hot 115-120F water plus 1/4 tsp. red wine vinegar). Switch to a plastic scraper if you have one, and continue mixing and turning just until dough is evenly moistened and pulls away from sides of the bowl. It’s not necessary to stir vigorously, just enough so the flour is mixed in.

3.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap (a plastic shower cap works great!) and let stand 30 minutes. Turn dough with the scraper or spoon, giving it about 4 folds. (If you skip this step it won’t harm the bread.)

4.  Cover bowl with plastic and let stand at room temperature 18-24 hours (3-4 hours for speedy version). The dough will rise and be very bubbly.

5.  Gently stir dough down with scraper or spatula and fold over in 90 degree turns several times. Dust top of dough lightly with flour. Cover the bowl and let rest 15 minutes.

6. Dust a towel with oats, cornmeal, wheat bran or a little flour. Scrape the dough out of the bowl onto the towel and shape roughly into a ball. Wrap in the towel and leave at room temperature for 30-45 minutes. OR – leave bread in bowl, sprinkle top with oats, cornmeal, bran or flour, then scrape around edge of bowl to slightly deflate dough. Let stand covered while oven heats, then turn directly into hot pan. 

7.   While dough is resting, place ungreased pan with lid if it has one, in the oven. Turn oven on and preheat to 500°F. NOTE: The pan must be a glazed ceramic that can withstand 500°F or an iron skillet. Allow at least 30 minutes for pan and oven to super-heat. It is necessary to preheat the pan so the bread will instantly create steam when it goes in, and the bread won’t stick to the pan.

8.  Unwrap dough, shake excess grain off the towel. Place the dough in the towel within reach of the oven. Open oven and pull rack forward. Lift lid (if using) and quickly slide dough into pan. Cover with lid or loosely cover container with foil. (This step can also be done by removing pan from the oven.)

9.  Reduce oven to 450°F. Cover pan with lid or foil. Bake covered 25 minutes. Dough will rise and start to brown.

10. Remove lid or foil and continue to bake until very dark brown, another 20-25 minutes.  Immediately remove bread from pan and cool on a wire rack.

KITCHEN NOTES:

The website PotsandPans sells ceramic loaf pans like the one I used for the walnut-raisin loaf.

I’ve tested cider vinegar in place of red wine and it seems to work similarly. I have a question in to Mark Bittman about why red wine, but he’s traveling in India till end of February and I’ve not had a reply.  I haven’t found food chemist to answer the question yet 🙂

 

Recipe adaption and photo by Rosemary Mark

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