|Bread so good, it tries to eat itself.|
I explain the process for slow no-knead bread in detail, in this first recipe for creating a sourdough no-knead bread. However, in this variation, I'll show how to pull it off using, in part, multigrain flour. Pictured above is probably my fourth attempt at making a no-knead. (This one is just a hair above 4" high, and 7 3/4 - 8" wide). The more practiced you are at this lazy man's way of breadmaking, the more you can refine your method. And I did.
Although this is still the straight slow no-knead method, by playing a bit with the ingredients and process, I did manage to shave a few hours off of my usual time. While still producing even better results than I acheived in the first recipe for faux sourdough. So I recommend you give this one a try, even if you don't have or wish to use multigrain flour (in which case it'll be 4 cups of white flour). I use sugar in this recipe, which gives a darker, sweeter and very crispy crust. If you don't need that, leave the sugar out, the bread will still be good.
3 c all-purpose flour
1 c 6-grain (or 7,8 or 9 grain etc.) flour
1 t yeast
1 T sugar (optional)
1 1/2t salt
Add salt, yeast and sugar to a glass bowl; then pour in 1 1/2 cups of warm water. Mix until the yeast has dissolved (use a whisk if necessary, to break up the yeast if it has clumped up). Let this sit while you prepare the flour.
In a large bowl, add the all purpose and multigrain flours, mix together. After the yeast water has rested 10 minutes or so, pour it around the sides of the bowl containing the flour, and using a spatula, mix until the flour is incorporated. Start by scraping the water and flour off the sides of the bowl as you turn the bowl, and the flour will gently form a ball. Continue scraping the bowl around and underneath the ball of flour, until the ball is pulling dough and flour off of the bowl, and it forms a fairly smooth ball. Do not poke the center of the ball with the spatula. Just manipulate it by the exterior.
Cover the entire bowl with a plastic bag, wrapping the bag under the bowl, to make it airtight. Place the bagged bowl in a microwave oven to rest for 10 - 12 hours, until the dough has at least doubled (in mine, the dough had risen to beyond the edge of the large bowl and touched the bag, after about 10 or 11 hours). At the end of this process, the dough should have bubbles across the surface, and when you tilt the bowl, the strands should gently stretch as they pull away from the sides.
Take your lump of dough and lifting it from the bottom, fold it over itself halfway (as though you are folding a letter in thirds). Fold the top half over in the same way. Next, fold the right side halfway, then the left side, until the dough has been folded on all 4 sides. Now repeat this process 2 or 3 more times.
Prepare a "proofing bowl" by flouring and/or oiling the sides of the bowl, to prevent the dough from sticking to it, and allow it to rise with least resistance. This proofing bowl can be the bowl you used for the first rise. It is preferable to be either a purpose-built proofing bowl, one made of glass or ceramic, or plastic. In order of preference). Place the dough into the bowl, cover it with a tea towel and into the microwave oven for the second rise. Let your dough rise for 1 to 2 hours (in mine, the dough had risen beyond the lip of the bowl in about 1 to 1 1/2 hours).
Pre-heating the dutch oven
The idea of preheating a dutch oven is to create a crispy, flavorful crust, making use of moisture trapped inside the pot. So one half hour before the end of the second rise, turn your oven to its highest temperature (or 500F to 550F). Place the oven rack to its lowest position, and put your dutch oven onto the low rack (including the cover) to pre-heat for at least 15 to 30 minutes. n.b. It is safer not to place the cover over the empty vessel, so either place it next to the pot or resting against it. However, if the handles of your dutch oven are bakelite (plastic), wood or silicone, and not rated to handle this high of a heat, then either do not place the cover in the oven during this process, or cover them well with a double layer of foil.
Transferring the dough
Carefully remove the heated dutch oven using heavy duty (well insulated) oven mitts or pads. Place it on a wood, cork or metal trivet. (Do not place it directly on your smooth ceramic stovetop!). Sprinkle a handful of grain on the bottom of the pot, to prevent your bread from sticking (preferably sesame seeds, or... cornmeal/flour/wheat germ/etc.).
Taking the bowl containing the dough, scrape the dough away from the side of the bowl with your spatula, all around the bowl, until the dough is no longer sticking to bowl (n.b. This will reduce the size of the dough, as the air releases). Again, you are only manipulating the exterior. Do not punch or poke the center of the dough. Invert the bowl over your preheated dutch oven, and allow the dough to fall into the pot. Using a sharp knife, cut three slits across the top surface of the bread, about 1/2" deep (or two slits in a cross fashion). If you wish, you can also sprinkle sesame seeds over top.
Baking the bread