Thursday, April 5, 2012

No-knead whole wheat ciabatta... and more

You may have noticed I am not partial to food fads.

I do not bake macarons (there is an element of fear, I admit it, but there is also only so much foot talk I can stand - unless you are Dr. Seuss ).

I have never dreamed of making cake pops (yawn again).

I only really bake cupcakes for the kids and not very often at that.

I don't make Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter treats ahead of time to post about because honestly I am just too distracted with life to get my act together on time. But hey, you never know, maybe next year.

I don't cook things involving Gs (green, Guinness) for St. Patrick's day or hearts, pink and red for Valentine's Day.

I will admit I am intrigued by little-house-in-the-prairie-like endeavours such as curing meat, making my own cheese, yogurt or  sourdough bread. But these are just more things that require planning, focus and time. And that is why I finally gave in to another food fad, the mother of all food fads actually: no knead bread.

Ever since my bread machine broke quite a while back, I have been thinking of making my own bread. Then came the never ending blog posts about no-knead bread and then came my beloved Le Creuset. I knew I would make it at some point, but I just couldn't get myself to become the twentieth food blogger that week to write about the same thing. I knew I would bore you and myself to tears. I had to let it sit a while before getting excited about it again.

Well, apparently the time had come because when I was roasting the eggplant for my last recipe on the week end, I knew I wanted to make some fabulously crusty bread to eat it with. I had the time, a whole night ahead of me. Perfect.

I used whole wheat but you can use a mix or white flour of course.

And thus, this lovely loaf was born, with really no effort at all. The next time I will have my kids make it, honestly. It is that easy. You just need time and patience.

3 cups whole wheat bread flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1.5 cups warm water

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. It will turn into a wet, sticky blob. Cover with Saran wrap/ cling film and set aside in warm place (I put it into my oven) for a little over 12 hours.

When that time has passed, flour a surface a dump the bubbly, sticky mess onto it. Wet your hands and fold over the sides towards the center. Prepare a bowl, line it with a floured dish towel and dump the dough into it, turning it over so that the smoother surface is facing up.
Cover and let it rise for another couple of hours.

About half an hour before baking, start preheating your oven to 450°F/250°C and heat up your baking vessel in it (as you can see, I used my Le Creuset enameled cast iron pot). When it is nice and hot, pull it out, dump the bread in (don't worry if it looks messy, once it is baked it won't), cover and bake for 30 minutes. After the half hour has passed, uncover and let bake for another 20 minutes so it turns crusty and golden.

When it is ready it will sound hollow if you tap it. Let it cool and enjoy every crunchy bit.

By the way, how high or flat the loaf is also depends on the size of the bowl/vessel you let it rise/bake in.

Besides wishing you all a very Happy Easter, I also wanted to thank Andrea (sorry I am so late!) and Manu for their awards!

Thank you Andrea!

If you receive the Liebster award, follow these five steps:
1. Thank the person who gave you the award.
2. Link back to their blog.
3. Copy and paste the Liebster award to your profile
4. Pick 5 blogs that you feel deserve to be in the spotlight (they must have 200 followers or under)
5. Blog about it and leave a comment for your nominations to let them know that you have chosen their blog.

I send this award out to:

Frank, who makes fabulous Italian recipes on his Memorie di Angelina
An Italian Cooking in the Midwest, for her endless creativity and immagination in the kitchen
Manu's Menu, who can never have enough awards!
The Nervous Cook, who is certainly not as nervous in the kitchen as she may sound!
And Baby Cakes Three, because who ever said healthy food can't be delicious and beautiful?

I am not sure that all of these blogs have the required amount of followers because I couldn't find them, but what the heck? I love 'em anyway-

Thank you Manu!

If you receive this:
  1. Thank the person who gave you this award.
  2. Include a link to their blog.
  3. Select 15 bloggers for the versatile award.
  4. Share 7 things about yourself.
  5. In the same post include this set of rules.
  6. Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on their blog.
This award goes to:
A Full Measure of Happiness, for fun posts and some great food
Twinisms, because she can make me laugh on the worst of days
Lucky number 13, because you can always find beauty on her blog
Sugarplum, a natural born baker
The Little Loaf, a girl who can bake up pretty much anything you dream of
Moomser, the girl who can write, bake a mean cake and so much more!
Eat Tori, great recipes and travelling tips
Burp and Slurp, the truly versatile blogger!
Anecdotes and apple cores, lovely treats and words
Care's Kitchen, great food and photography
My Little Expat Kitchen, delicious Greek food and so much more
La Caffettiera Rosa, Italian food with an international twist and always something interesting to say
And yes, again:

For those of you who don't "do awards", consider my link a sign of how much I enjoy reading you!

Now, do I really need to bore you with 7 facts about me? I do? Ok, I will be very brief, I promise.

1. I love Bruce Springsteen. Going to see him live in June
2. I am currently reading the second book of The Hunger Games
3. I could eat Japanese food any day of the week
4. When it comes to sashimi, I am more of a salmon girl than a tuna girl (even if I love tuna in general)
5. I get really bored at the hairdresser's. I dread going
6. I love the mountains
7. I always thought three was the perfect number of kids. Not anymore, two suit me just fine (although I admit I sometimes wonder what the third one would be like...)


    1. ok, number 7 kind of freaked me out! Now I'm wondering what the third one would look like too!! Thanks for the award dear! And have a great easter!!

    2. Go girl! No fads in my kitchen either (or at least I like to think I am more or less fad free)! What do you think about the no knead bread? I am still trying to figure out if I really like it or not...

      And thanks for passing me the award!

    3. We are alike in more ways than I thought....especially on the food fad thing. Thanks for the award. Up until December I was posting so many sweets, so probably not that healthy of a blog....but then along came the pregnancy and things turned a bit spicy and savory :) thank goodness!!

    4. I love no-knead breads and I make one every other week.
      Yours looks lovely!

      Thank you so much for the award, it really means a lot to me!

    5. That's something I have never made! It looks great! I love bread... unfortunately!!! hehehe

      And thank you for passing the award to me!!! <3 <3 <3

      Happy Easter to you and your family!

    6. I need to get a Le Crueset! Yummy ciabatta! Seems easy enough for me (a non baker)

      1. Hi J! I am also a non baker... I had never baked bread before. This is the recipe for us.

    7. I've not had the chance to make a no-knead bread! I definitely need to put it on the list because yours came out beautifully!

    8. I'm with you on the faddy food and anything that requires decorating (no artistic ability here) or hours of my time. I plan on making this bread and I have heard a lot about it in recent times.
      The little sachets which you buy instant yeast in contain 1 and a half teaspoons so I'm just checking that the recipe only needs 1/4 tsp? Thanks!

      1. Sorry to get back to you so late. Yes, just 1/4 tsp. I was surprised too.

    9. Nice! I have to start making this bread, no excuses not to anymore since I finally got a decent electric oven. Love the mountains too! Have a wonderful holiday with your family!

    10. I've never made no knead bread but I really should give it a try as I'm always experimenting with different kinds of yours looks lovely :-)

    11. ohmigosh! Thank you so much for the award! :'-)

      I usually turn away from food fads too, particularly if it has to do with diet. But certain fads deserve the hype! I'm glad you tried this and it looks and sounds wonderful. I just baked Irish soda bread, by the way...another super easy bread!

      1. I read you post and definitely want to give Irish soda bread a try

    12. Thank you for the award and the kind words! It made coming back from a short Italian break a lot sweeter! Hope you had a great Easter too.

      After ignoring kale chips for way too long, I have learned to listen when all the bloggers are screaming that something is so easy and so delicious. I have to try the no-knead, and another reminder is just welcome.

      1. Yes, I agree, it is always worthwhile looking into what everyone is talking about. There maybe things that are more down our alley than others, but it usually an indicator of quality.

    13. Looks great! Bet it would make great paninis!

    14. bread recipe sounds really good.... I make bread once a week in a batch but this could just fill that mid week gap that always happens....
      thank you!

      1. Hi Sylvan, you certainly sound like an expert breadbaker to me. You will pull this mid week recipe together in even less than the few minutes it took me.

    15. After seeing this great ciabatta i' more and more curious to try this famous kn-knead bread! Compliments!

    16. Can you believe I am only seeing this post now? (Thanks to the links in your 2014 New Year's post.) Belated thanks for the shout out!


    Leave a suggestion, opinion or your own experience. I love hearing from you.