Thursday, May 21, 2009

Great Granola Breakfast Bread




Click here for the recipe.


I have made some awesome yeast bread…without any kneading. I think that’s what makes it so wonderful. I actually forgot about the bread dough during the first rise and it still turned out very well. AWESOME. It was a freebie teaser recipe from Amazon.com, excerpted from the bread-making book, Kneadlessly Simple. So the concept of the book is to show one how to make a variety of yeast breads without any kneading whatsoever. It’s true. And the method is ridiculously easy and does not require any elbow grease. The key ingredient is time, a lot of it—15-18 hours at the least. No worries, most of that time the bread is sitting forgotten on the kitchen counter. In regular yeast bread recipes, kneading is the technique used to develop the gluten in the bread. The amount of yeast needed, about 1- 2 tsp (or about the size of a packet of yeast), is required to "assist" the kneading in order to develop the gluten content of the bread. In a knead-less bread, the amount of yeast use is drastically reduced, in this case only ¼ tsp. That is because gluten can also develop naturally, given enough time. And if you are familiar with sourdough breads and sourdough bread starters…well, that’s a similar idea. The first rise is done at room temperature over 12 hours.

The look of a knead-less bread dough is quite different from regular yeasted breads…it is a lot wetter. In fact, it looks more like a batter. This dough is stirred to mix it up…so no fancy equipment is required for the prep work either. Some would beg to differ that a regular yeasted bread requires no fancy equipment either…I use a food processor to mix and knead my regular bread doughs because a) I am a weakling and b) the food processor is just plain faster.

The second rise is much quicker…just 2-3 hours. Then preheat the oven and I had a very pretty and awesome-smelling loaf of bread about 1 ½ hours later. It tastes wonderful. I’ve been eating a plain slice for breakfast all week long and it’s filling. I bet it would also taste good with a bit of jam or butter, or both. I also think it would make great French toast.

Just about the only change I would make would be to use regular flour to dust the pan and NOT add the finely crushed granola to the top of the loaf. The granola on all sides of the loaf created a royal mess when I sliced the loaf…it was falling off with each cut. I am also wondering if I can get away with using regular rolled oats instead of the granola…and perhaps add a bit more sugar to compensate.

There’s actually another free recipe from the book, Easy Buttermilk Pot Bread, that I would’ve made but I don’t have a dutch oven. There are actually several free “kneadless” bread recipes available on the internet, but they all require an oven safe vessel and a lid that can withstand very hot temps (about 425 F). Unfortunately, I don’t own any oven safe lids. I am seriously considering picking one up at a yard sale/second hand store!

Here’s a list of the free knead-less bread recipes/videos I found:
New York Times: No Knead Bread
Breadtopia No Knead Breadmaking
Making No Knead Bread At Home
The Fresh Loaf

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