I knew I shouldn’t have started this challenge quite yet. It hasn’t been ideal having the builders here building our new kitchen extension and the plumber as well moving the boiler and lots and lots of piping! Because of this I haven’t been able to access the existing kitchen very much and when I do it has only been for short periods of time – normally to make them tea or coffee!!
Anyway, looking through the book the other evening I came across this recipe and it seemed ideal as I didn’t need to spend ages kneading the loaf. It could be mixed together in the evening (once all the contractors had left for the day), put in the fridge and baked the next morning or whenever I needed some! Perfect…
Jane’s comment on this recipe is:-
“I confess I am not a fan of the end-result of the ‘no knead’ method of making bread. I am a kneader, I like the texture of kneaded bread better. However, the ‘no knead’ bread method is very popular and even for committed kneaders, it has a time and a place; when you know you will be in a rush.”
- 650g plain all-purpose white or wholewheat, wheat or spelt flour (or a mixture)
- 600g water
- 2g instant yeast/4g dry yeast or 8g fresh yeast
- 12g salt
- A handful of seeds, nuts or dried fruit, chopped (optional)
220°C (425°F), Gas 7.
I think it was around 9pm when I decided to start on the recipe. Not having baked for over a week now, not even a cake, I needed to get back into the kitchen even if it was for a few minutes!
This recipe begins the night before you want your buns. Basically you put all the above ingredients into a large bowl and mix them together. The bowl was then covered with a ‘shower cap’ and put in the fridge for the next day.
I love the wording in Jane’s book for this recipe she lets you know how simple this is by describing what you need to do in the morning. Basically, you get up and preheat the oven, brush your teeth while the oven heats up and then decide how many buns you need to bake for that day!
You then return to the kitchen, take the bowl out of the fridge (I have to go to the dining room at the moment as that is where the fridge is whilst the building work is going on!!) and in Jane’s words, “Exclaim in delight as you see how puffy the dough is”!
Using two spoons you need to drop blobs of dough onto the baking sheet “stacking them as best as you can so that are more round than flat”. The bonus about this dough is that you don’t need to use it all in one go, you can keep it for another 2-3 days in the fridge.
I decided that I’d make 4 buns to start with (the recipe makes a total of 16). The blobs were put onto the baking sheet, but I think my dough may have been a little on the runny side compared to the photographs in the book. It started to spread. I tried in vain to scoop it back onto itself.
And again, Jane tells you to go and have a shower whilst they bake and then get dressed whislt they’re cooling!!
Into the oven they went for 20 minutes. I hadn’t put any seeds or anything into the dough as the children can sometimes be fussy about this, so I thought I’d make some plain ones to start with. After 20 minutes the kitchen was smelling of lovely freshly baked bread – yum! The rolls were a golden brown, so they were removed and popped onto a cooling rack to cool. Within minutes of taking them out my husband and daughter had already spotted them and decided to try them. They both liked them, I myself wasn’t too sure, I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what they reminded me of. In the end, I decided they tasted a little like crumpets.
I decided that my dough was a little too runny as the buns had spread quite a bit, so I added a couple more spoons of flour. I think if I make these again, I won’t add as much water as my dough, although thick, was a little too runny.
The next day I made another 4 rolls and decided to use the rest of the mixture up by making very small loafs in my miniature loaf tins. I sprinkled the to of these with poppy seeds, linseed and a sprinkling of flour. These were baked for about 5 minutes longer than the rolls. They all rose slightly more on one side compared to the other and looked a little like slabs of cheese when I took them out! However, my husband took a whole loaf with him to work that day, filled with chicken and salad and said it was absolutely delicious and could I make some more!!! I can also say that my son and daughter liked them too. Me, slightly torn. They were easy to make but in my opinion they didn’t taste as good as the bread that has been kneaded and loved…