I know I’ve mentioned this here before (several times, actually) but my family and I are carb lovin’ fiends. We all have this immense love for bread. It’s actually kind of shocking how much bread four people can go through! It is a definite staple in my house, and the fancier the better. The biggest fiends in the house are actually my sister and me. We have the reputation of finishing loaves of bread within a day, often in one sitting. Shameful, I know.
Sometimes, when we would go food shopping, my dad would pick up a double bag of challah bread from the bakery section of the giant supermarket. The bag brought two moderately sized loaves; enough to probably feed 8-10 people. He’d usually give one away and we’d keep the other. No joke, my sister and I would tear into that loaf and scarf down more than half in one sitting. We’d just keep tearing off chunks and eating until our willpower would show up, and we’d try to put the rest away. I have to say, when my sister and I go hard, we go HARD.
These days, we’re not limited to challah bread. While it is on my baking bucket list, I’ve jumped into more serious forms of bread baking: the sandwich loaf. Coincidentally, we ran out of our store-bought loaves earlier this week, so I jumped at the opportunity to make my own. I tread lightly when it comes to bread, not only because of the carb lovin’ fiend in me, but because it is a lot harder to do everything the good old fashioned way. On one hand, I’m glad I get to really get to know what it’s like to make bread by hand but it is A LOT of work. I wish I had the convenience of a stand mixer or a bread machine but til then, I’m gonna continue to get down and dirty with my dough.
I decided to make it easy on myself, and chose a no knead bread recipe. I’m not really too familiar with the science behind no knead doughs, so I wasn’t sure how this was even going to work. Skepticism aside, it worked and it was a cinch. The only difficult thing about this recipe is the wait time. The bread rises for five hours, proofs for another hour, bakes for about 30 minutes, and then you need to wait ANOTHER hour for it to cool before slicing. I was basically hounded all day by my sister, asking if the bread was done!
It was definitely worth the wait! The loaf filled my house with the aroma of freshly baked bread, which was enough to send us into a tizzy. Hot out of the oven, it resembled the ordinary bread you’d find in the grocery store. When finally sliced, its crackly and crunchy exterior revealed a soft, yeasty and spongy interior. The five hour rise allowed the bread to form a million nooks and crannies (can I even say that if I’m not describing English muffins?) that are just ready to be filled with sweet butter or jam. It doesn’t exactly resemble the spongey bread you’re used to but it is surprisingly chewy, toasts beautifully and makes a mean grilled cheese. It has only been two days, and half the loaf is already gone! I’m planning on making more bread (really soon, actually), so expect more carbs in the coming weeks. For now, let me get back to this loaf before it completely disappears!
No Knead Sandwich Bread – adapted from Food52
- 3 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
- 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 3 cups of water
- Combine the flours, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add water and stir together with a wooden spoon to form a shaggy dough. Cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel and let proof at room temperature for around 5 hours. At this point the dough can be used immediately, or covered with plastic wrap and kept in the fridge for up to two weeks.
- Turn the dough out on a floured surface, sprinkle some flour on the dough and lightly knead 3–4 times. Shape dough into a large rectangle. Fold one third of the dough into the center, followed by the other third.
- Place seam side-down in a buttered loaf pan. Sprinkle some flour over the top and cover. Let rise for approximately 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Preheat your oven to 450°. Dust the top of the dough with a little more flour and score with a serrated knife. Bake for 30–35 minutes, or until the top of the loaf has just begun to brown. Let cool for at least an hour before slicing.
- I used a combo of whole wheat and all purpose flour. If you have access to bread flour, please use it! The texture will be different but delicious nonetheless.
- The original recipe didn’t say what temperature the water should be, so I used warm (a little warmer than body temp.); just to be on the safe side.
- I used a large loaf pan and made one big loaf. Alternatively, you can use two small loaves.