No knead bread is the need of the hour
Quickly steam some veggies, roast some meat and boil or cook some eggs but then how about some fresh and homemade bread to satiate your hunger pangs! Fresh healthy bread with some eggs, honey, seeds, herbs and that too sans much effort. Is that doable and sustainable!
Know Kneading or No Kneading?
Ever since I started baking breads, the ‘mool mantra’ or so to say something which is seen as sacrosanct by bakers is -’knead well’, ie. at least for 8 to 10 minutes so that gluten develops and the bread rises well. True that! But what if someone wants to bake a bread and doesn’t have much time or inclination to go through the whole process of kneading, fermentation, deflating, proving..?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind…
I have been baking for about six years now. My endeavor has been to experiment with different ingredients to develop healthy and quick bread recipes. In the process I discovered and learnt that some ingredients have natural leavening properties like banana, eggs, chia seeds and flaxseeds, isabgol etc. I have been using these in whole wheat and multi grain breads for getting nice and soft loaves. Here I am using these leavening agents for making a no knead bread.
- 1&½ cup wheat flour (210 grams)
- 1&½ cup maida (180 grams)
- 1&½ tsp yeast
- 1 tbsp honey/sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1tsp mixed herbs
- 1 tbsp soaked chia seeds and flaxseeds
- 1 tbsp soaked oats
- 2 eggs (or 5 tbsp thick curd)
- 1 cup milk or buttermilk (240 ml)
- 1tbsp olive oil or butter
- 1 tsp vinegar or lemon juice
A note about the dough used for our NO KNEAD BREAD
When I say bread, it not only means bread loaf, but all similar bakes made with bread dough, such as buns, pizza, garlic bread, focaccia, slow rise bread, pitas, calzones etc.
To keep things simple and minimalistic, there are only two types of dough for all my bread recipes:
The first one is a Basic bread dough, mainly consisting of wheat flour, yeast and water along with very little oil, salt and sugar.
The second one is the Bun dough which is richer, as it has some or all of these ingredients:
Sugar or honey
Butter or oil
Buttermilk or thick curd (as a substitute for egg)
Milk or milk powder
Lemon or vinegar
Herbs and seeds
A dash of baking soda.
So this dough is enriched with sugar, butter, egg, milk powder or curd. Without these, it is exactly like the basic bread dough.
We are using the ‘ BUN DOUGH’ with some variation here to make our ‘No Knead Bread’.
In all the bread recipes, to make soft and less dense breads, the key is to make soft dough and have more hydration (i.e. the liquid content). The general rule is that hydration should be 50% to 60% (i.e. if flour is 100 grams, liquid should be 50g to 60g, or 50ml to 60ml).
Remember, while using wholewheat flour (which is less refined and absorbs more liquid), the breads improve with more hydration. In my recipes, I keep hydration upto 70%.
Do remember to include all wet ingredients such as oil, butter, milk, water etc. in the liquid content that you add to the flour.
The ingredients- both dry and wet
Mix all the dry ingredients and sift the flour well, as aeration helps in baking well structured breads.
Add the wet ingredients gradually, mix well with hands or spatula or in a dough mixer for just about 2 minutes. Use oil if it is sticky and assemble it / make it a rough ball.
Getting the dough together and working for just 2 minutes
Cover it and place in dark warm place. Let it rest covered for about 2 hours till it doubles. In between just flatten the dough and stretch and fold (like an envelope) 2 to 3 times.
Meanwhile you can cook your side dishes.
Well risen dough
Using some oil or butter to handle the dough, shape it roughly into a round loaf or a focaccia or tandir kind of thick flat bread or a regular loaf in a loaf tin. Sprinkle some fresh herbs or seeds on top.
A rough ‘rustic’ shaped loaf
Ready for the oven spring
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celsius. Place the bread for baking. Spray some water quickly to create steam effect. Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes, till done.
Our no knead bread is done!
- Let the dough be very soft, not hard, so as to get soft bread.
- The eggs, the chia seeds, the flax seeds, butter help in leavening and making our quick, no knead bread.
- Flat breads bake better in this case, so try some focaccia.
- Extra fermentation helps as we are not proofing again.
- Seeds, oats and herbs are optional.
Why this No Knead bread?
Bakers generally follow the steps and are a patient lot. We love kneading and over the years start enjoying this therapeutic process, when our hands are playing with the dough like young children in gay abandon, playing with sand and water. Such well kneaded breads have great flavour and texture.
But now the need was to develop a ‘no knead’ recipe. This one is for my sons who need to bake on their own and I would like them to bake regularly without much ado. In fact this one is for all the kids who are away for work or studies, especially those who are abroad and have to manage both work and kitchen!
Sometimes one has to skip and hop to reach the goal. I will consider my job done when the ‘target new bakers’ will start baking fresh healthy breads at home. This will be their first step, then there are endless possibilities….. And no stopping!