31 October 2008

Kneadless Bread for Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone!


I spotted these intriguing raspberries at the supermarket today. They were marketed as Ghost Raspberries, but they didn't glow in the dark. They tasted quite nice, though could have done with some more sun to make them juicier and sweeter.

At the patisserie class I found out about a recipe for kneadless bread. The theory is that time develops gluten as well as kneading.

Now some time ago, I spotted a new type of flour at Waitrose - oak smoked stone ground strong flour. Needless to say, I couldn't resist this and so thought I'd try out the fab new kneadless recipe with this fab new flour.

Unfortunately this was a bad choice, but there were glints of hope, so I'll try this again, with regular white strong flour or more water.


7 dl strong white flour
1 tsp dry yeast or 2 tsp fresh yeast
2 tsp salt
3.5 dl water at room temperature
flour and course bran or polenta for sprinkling


  1. Mix the flour and yeast in a large bowl; if using fresh yeast, rub it in well into the flour. Then add the salt and water.
  2. Combine into a wet dough. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave for about 18 hours in room temperature.
  3. Flour your work surface and turn out the dough, it should spread out on its own accord. Push it aside into a square of about 25 cm, then fold into thirds into a strip and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Fold into thirds along the long side to form a cube. Sprinkle flour and bran/polenta on a linen towel and place the dough cube carefully on top. Sprinkle more flour and bran/polenta over it and cover it up with the towel and leave to rise for 2 hours.
  5. After 1 hour of rising, place a casserole dish with its lid in the oven and preheat on the highest temperature - gas mark 9 or 240 degrees C.
  6. When the rising time is up, place the cube in the casserole dish and bake with the lid on for 30 minutes. Then remove the lid and bake for further 20-23 minutes.

I should have reacted when my dough came together rather nicely last night. In fact I was quite tempted to continue kneading. I should have added more water then and there. And so, there was some gluten development, but not too much. A wetter dough would have made it better. It just struck me that the fresh yeast I used had been frozen, that might have affected it slightly.

Turning it out onto the work surface, it didn't spread out voluntarily, I had to push it out and 2 hours rising time didn't seem to make any difference. Even in baking, it didn't rise much. I also should have brushed off some of the flour and polenta that I covered it with.

I've left it to cool now and will try it out tomorrow. Overall, I'm looking forward to making this work.

1 comment:

Alison said...

This seems to be a Jim Lahey recipe.

I've made it several times and although I've made some silly mistakes like leaving the lid off or overheating the oven it still came out beautifully. I find the amount of water has to be exact. Good luck!