Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Taste of Yellow No-Knead Bread for LiveSTRONG Day

The food blogging community is supporting LiveSTRONG Day with a blog event called a Taste of Yellow. LiveSTRONG Day is the Lance Armstrong Foundation's one-day initiative to raise awareness and funds for the cancer fight. It will happen on May 13, and that's the day you'll be able to go to Winos and Foodies to see lots and lots of delicious recipes that include the color yellow.

I am behind this effort 100%. Like most people, I have lost loved ones to cancer. Our family lost my Aunt Mary to breast cancer, and a few years ago, her daughter Maggie lost her battle with cancer. My Aunt Dee is now dealing with a recurrence of breast cancer.

My recipe contribution to LiveSTRONG Day is an easy, fluffy, and, of course, yellowy no-knead batter bread, so the time you save by not kneading bread can be spent on exercise, in the spirit of Lance Armstrong.

The no-knead technique seem to be all the rage these days but the technique is hardly new. As Judith Jones says in the introduction to this recipe in The Book of Bread:

The chief distinction of loaves that are formed of dough mixed by beating instead of kneading – hence the name batter breads – goes back to ancient times; in fact, the English term may have first been used in the Middle Ages.

The bread was quick to make, although the dough verged on being as thick and elastic as Silly Putty. It was tricky to wrangle it into the pans and shape it attractively.

The bread has a pretty yellow color and a slightly sweet flavor that reminds me of Challah bread. The only thing I wasn't care for was a few black specs in the crust of the bread, which were caused by the cottage cheese in the batter. I'm not sure the cottage cheese added much to the loaf.

The thing I love about this recipe – and all of the recipes in this book -- is the writing. That's why I'm including it here word for word. She gives you information that lets you know that the recipe is on the right track, and helpful hints for making it turn out right. As an example, she says the initial consistency of the batter will be a little thicker than cake batter – which is helpful, because that's quite different than most yeast breads. At the same time, she doesn't give you so much detail that the recipe is overwhelming. Very few cookbooks I own have recipes that have the voice of a friendly, experienced cook guiding you through the process.

No Knead Batter Bread

From The Book of Bread by Judith and Evan Jones (out of print)

Makes four 5 ½-inch loaves

Batters that contain eggs make richer breads, and the addition of yeast produces soft, feathery loaves. We prefer baking this bread in small loaf pans, and it is so quickly made that very often you can start the bread as you prepare a meal and have a warm loaf ready to eat with it. This batter bread is also delicious toasted.

1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
½ cup warm water
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons cottage cheese
2 eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons coarse salt or 1 ½ teaspoons table salt
4 cups white flour, preferably unbleached

Put the yeast in a large bowl and pour the warm water over it.

Heat the milk with the butter just long enough to melt the butter. Stir in the cottage cheese, beaten eggs, honey, and salt. Pour this over the dissolved yeast and stir in the flour; the consistency will be a little thicker than thick cake batter. Beat at least 100 strokes by hand or for one minute with an electric beater at medium speed. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place for one hour, when the batter will almost have tripled in volume.

Stir the batter down and spread it evenly into four small greased loaf pans (if you don't have enough 5 ½-inch loaf pans, use casserole dishes 3-4 inches across). The batter will be very gummy and you will have to cut the dough off and into the pans. Let rise until it just swells to the tops of the pans, about 20-25 minutes.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35 minutes. Cool on racks, although this bread may be eaten while still warm.

8 comments:

Lori said...

That bread looks fantastic. After my failed bread experimentation today, I think I will make this loaf.

Barbara said...

Thanks for your entry Tracy. I did not know no knead bread was around that long ago. An interesting fact. Your bread looks wonderful.

Emiline said...

The loaves are beautiful. I love no-knead bread.

Veronica said...

Your bread looks delicious. I like the idea of a no knead bread. The cottage cheese is an interesting ingredient. I'm going to try it, my kids love homemade bread-unfortunately they don't get it very often!

Deborah said...

What a wonderful entry! And that book sounds like a winner. Too bad it's out of print. I wonder if I could find a used copy...

jj said...

Love the way this recipe is presented. This does sound like a wonderful bread for toasting, too. Thanks for a great share!

Prudy said...

Tracy:
Looks great. Mark Bittman did a NY times bit on no-knead bread that I absolutely love.

Elisabeth said...

I'm jealous that you got a post up for LiveSTRONG Day...this was going to be the first blogger event I participated in, but none of my photos of the lemon curd cheesecake I made turned out. Next year, I guess! Your bread looks delicious. :)

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