Many thanks to Margaret for this well detailed outline of her no-knead baking techniques.
Perhaps the best thing about the no-knead method is that it makes quality home bread baking possible for so many more people who would otherwise not have the time or inclination to bother or venture past the bread machine. Margaret notches up "easy" to another level.
In her words…
About the no-knead bread, I’m on something between loaf 30 and loaf 40. What fun! My latest experiments, which are geared toward simplicity, are:
- When the dough has risen (after the first 18 hours or so), I wet the dough scraper (so it doesn’t stick to the dough) and turn the dough within the bowl to rest (without dumping it out, and without using any flour).
- Then, I shape the rested dough, again wetting the dough scraper, by folding the dough inside the bowl.
- I then wet my hands and scoop the dough into them, quickly rounding the dough. (Speed is important here. You have to get rid of the dough before it thinks about sticking to you.)
- Then I place it to rise onto a piece of parchment paper about 12 to 16-inches square. I gather the edges of the parchment and lower the whole thing into a bowl that is slightly smaller than the pot I’m baking it in. Optionally, I would think the new Reynolds Release Foil (non-stick aluminum foil) might work in place of the parchment.
- I may or may not dust the top of the dough with wheat bran.
- When it’s ready to go into the oven, I snip 3 slashes into the top of the dough with my kitchen scissors, if I remember.
- Then I again gather the edges of the parchment, lift it from the bowl, lower the dough into the preheated cooking pot and put the cover on. It doesn’t matter if the top squashes the edges of the parchment.
Alternatively, if you have a baking stone, you can leave the parchment flat in step 4, then put the dough onto the stone on the flat parchment, and COVER it with an inverted pre-heated pot (assuming the handles of the pot allow it to sit flat on the stone).
This works no matter how dry or soupy your dough is. I keep mine pretty wet.
None of this is particularly original. I’ve gleaned the bits from other generous experimenters and simplifiers. The advantages are not having to use or clean up the additional flour, not worrying as much about burning yourself or deflating the dough when it’s "dumped" into the pot, and very little cleanup since the pot stays clean and the kitchen isn’t dusted with flour.
Margaret, Ball Ground, GA, www.margaretberthold.com