I am so excited to tell you about this bread. I know people have been going on and on about no knead bread (for like 5 years- no really), but it never gets old to me. If you haven’t made it, you need to, because I promise- it will be a huge boost to your ego. I wasn’t particularly in need of a ego boost this week, but nonetheless, this loaf put a lift in my step.
My latest creation was a cranberry walnut boule, inspired by Lahey’s Carrot Loaf with walnuts and currants. I was so intrigued by this recipe, but since I didn’t have carrot juice on hand, I did without. Suffice it to say this came out of the oven at around 3 pm Tuesday, and at 4 pm Wednesday, only a skinny heal of the bread remained. On the one hand it’s a little scary to think about how much bread I’ve consumed, but more importantly, this is a clear indication of how good this bread is. We’ve been eating it with a bit of butter, but I think it would also be wonderful served with a smear of good cream cheese.
Lastly- a tip for storing this bread! If you plan to eat it within 1-2 days of baking (which you likely will), simply cut slices from end of the loaf. To store, turn the boule upright (cut side down), on a cutting board. The rest can remain exposed!
Cranberry and Walnut No Knead Boule adapted from Jim Lahey’s Carrot Loaf
Makes 1 10″ round loaf
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp instant yeast
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 1/2 cups plus 2 T water
In a large bowl mix together the flour, salt, yeast, cranberries, and walnuts. Pour in 1 1/2 cups of water and mix dough together with your hands or a wooden spoon until you have a slightly sticky and shaggy dough (about 30 seconds). The dough may need a bit more water, so add one tablespoon at a time until it’s slightly sticky.
Cover and let rise for 12- 18 hours, until the dough has more than doubled in size and the surface is studded with bubbles. I tend to always do mine for the full 18 hours (my schedule just seems to work out that way). I’d recommend the full length to achieve the results I did, but I’m sure if you went a few hours shorter- it would be fine.
After the first rise, dump the dough onto a generously floured surface (it may need a little coaxing out of the bowl, just pull gently). Liberally flour your hands and shape into a ball (as close to one as you can get- it will be fine!). Next, take a dish towel, lay it flat, and liberally flour the center of the towel. Transfer the dough to that spot, and gently fold the towel over the dough. Let rise for an additional 1-2 hours until the dough has doubled in size once again, and holds an impression when gently poked with a finger. If it springs back, let it rise 15 minutes more.
At least 30 minutes before you’re ready to bake your bread, place a large casserole dish or dutch oven (I use this one) in the middle rack of oven, and set temperature to 450 degrees. You want this dish screamin’ hot.
When your dough is done rising, open the oven, and with pot holders carefully place the pot on your stove. Set aside the lid. Working quickly but gently, unfold the towel and invert dough into the pot. Place the lid back on and put the dish back in the oven. Bake for 25 minutes. Then, remove lid, and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes uncovered, until the crust is a deep golden brown. Once achieved, remove pot from oven, carefully remove boule from pot, and let cool completely before slicing.