October 24, 2012

Recipe: "Everything" No-Knead Bread

This is a riff on the classic "no-knead" bread recipe developed by the brilliant Jim Lahey of Sullivan St Bakery. If you've not yet tried Jim's genius technique, please do! It's a fantastic way to delve into the world of bread baking without freaking out over the intricacies of proper kneading, proofing, and rising. This how-to video from the New York Times is a nice introduction to the simplicity and easy-going-ness of the no-knead technique.

That easy-going quality means tweaking this recipe is a breeze -  Jim Lahey himself has turned one simple recipe into two best-selling cookbooks. I have a host of flavor additions that I'm planning on trying out in the future, but I started with a play on one of my favorite carb indulgences: the everything bagel. I have a love affair with everything bagels. They lure me in with their confidence - why would I ever need to eat any other bagel when everything I need is baked in to this one? Sesame? Check. Poppy seeds? Check. Salt, onion, and garlic? TRIPLE CHECK. I mean, come on - who can resist that much savory deliciousness? 

When I worked at Zingerman's, good everything bagels were easy to come by - I worked in the "Bread Box", for goodness sake. I was literally surrounded by fresh, chewy, bagels for 8 hours a day. Living in Seattle is a different story - what Seattle calls "bagels", I call "bagel-shaped bread". True bagels are like the freaking food unicorn of the Pacific Northwest. To date, I've only found one place that offers an honest-to-goodness bagel, but for the well-being of both my waistline and my wallet, I only indulge occasionally (plus, part of me just doesn't trust a bagel place with NO TOASTER - I mean, what the heck is that?). 

So, when it was time to bake our next loaf of bread, I decided to everything it up. I added sesame seeds, poppy seeds, garlic, onion, and salt to the dough and let it rise overnight. Once the loaf was shaped, it was given a healthy coating of the same mixture to develop a classic everything crust. I really like the one-two punch of everything flavor - the intense salty-savory bite of the crust is echoed more gently in the interior. This bread is great simply toasted and topped with nondairy butter or olive oil, but it also makes a killer sandwich and pairs with soup like a dream. You might say it's got everything going for it.

"Everything" No-Knead Bread
A play on Jim Lahey's Classic No-Knead Bread Recipe

3 cups all-purpose flour 
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon rapid rise yeast
1 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoons onion powder

2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Follow Jim's method, whisking the seeds and spices for the dough into the dry ingredients before adding the water. Mix together the topping and use instead of cornmeal/bran for the "dusting" step to create the classic flavored crust. Be generous with the topping - it's the best part, after all!

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