I’ve been getting a lot of mileage out of the latest addition to our home library’s cookbook shelf. Since purchasing Jim Lahey’s My Bread two weeks ago, at least half a dozen no-knead loaves have emerged from our kitchen. The method itself is absurdly easy and nearly fool-proof — the trade-off, however, is that to follow it requires a fair amount of patience and planning. Lahey’s technique is not for those who crave instant gratification. Case in point: it requires one to let the dough rise initially for a period of 12 – 18 hours. As for me, I’ve had a lot of success at the upper end of this time range, sometimes letting the dough sit for 19 hours (that is, before letting the dough rise for the required second time). Finally, once the bread emerges from the oven, Lahey cautions that the loaf be allowed to cool entirely — in upwards of one hour — before serving up that first slice. His reasoning is that the loaf will continue to cook during this waiting period. But, the end result is more than worth it. It is literally as good as anything I’ve purchased at my favorite local bakery, WheatFields — and that is indeed a very strong endorsement.
These photos were taken this past Saturday, while preparing for some Saturday afternoon guests to arrive. On the menu was a loaf of freshly baked bread, prepared using my now-favored no-knead technique. It was served simply with apple slices, an assortment of hard and soft cheeses, and a little butter (which was kept spreadably soft in an Emile Henry butter pot, as shown in the picture above) . To drink, we shared a bottle of Redstone Meadery‘s Nectar of the Hops. Although I don’t often drink mead, I do enjoy the subtly honeyed taste of it, and am a big fan of this particular meadery.