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Sulivetchan St Bread

Sulivetchan Street No-Knead Bread


  • 500 g flour (about 3½ cups)
    • Any flour works; different flours will give dramatically different results. Generally, I prefer unbleached all purpose or artisanal whites to bread flours.
    • Use mostly white, with up to ½ cup rye, dark rye or pumpernickel flour or up to 1½ cups semolina or whole wheat.
    • For a very light rye like the ones from commercial bakers, use about ¼ cup rye. You can increase the rye, but above ½ cup the bread will rise less.
    • For a chewier rye bread, use ½ cup "first clear" high ash flour in place of some of the white flour.
  • 380 g water (about 1 3/4 cups)
    • possibly less with large amounts of rye flour.
    • this is less water than Mark Bittman's recipe, but seems to work better.
  • 1½ tsp kosher or large crystal sea salt
  • ¼ tsp yeast or 150 g starter

I.  Mix

  • Measure all ingredients into glass bowl.
  • Plunge your hands in and mix it together until it forms a dough, just a few strokes. You don't need to mix any more than you would for a baking powder bread or cake.
    • Dough should be sticky enough to make your fingers a mess but not so gooey that it doesn't hold together.
  • ALTERNATIVELY Mix in heavy duty mixer using dough hook for 5 minutes at lowest speed; allow to rest for 15 minutes; mix for 4 minutes more at lowest speed; then turn out into glass bowl.
    • After 4 or 5 minutes of mixing, dough should form a sticky ball, holding together and sticking to the bottom of the mixer, but too sticky to knead by hand.
  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap.

II.  First Rise (18 hours)

  • Let the covered bowl sit in a draft-free spot for 18-24 hours. Dough should double or triple in size.
  • If you are going to need to leave it for longer than this, refrigerate for up to a couple of days.

III. Shape and Second Rise

  • Turn dough out onto floured dry wooden board.
  • Flour your hands and knock down, by throwing it against the board a few times.
  • Fold the right third into the center, then the left third into the center, then turn 90° and repeat. (Watch the video if this is not clear). If the dough is very sticky, using a dough scraper may help.
  • If desired, fold in tiny chopped onions or a mixture of poppy seeds, onions and oil.
  • Cover with a towel or plastic and allow to rest 15 minutes.
  • Flour your hands again and shape bread into a boule. If it isn't too sticky, increase surface tension by rotating dough on board and pushing slightly down and under.
    • It should stick very slightly to the board but not enough to separate.
  • Place the shaped boule, seam side down, on a heavily floured kitchen towel, flour or seed the top and cover with another towel.
  • Alternatively,
    • put a kitchen towel into a banneton or bread rising basket.
    • Flour it with a heavy flour (rye, corn meal, etc). Alternately, or in addition, cover it with seeds or kosher salt crystals.
    • Place the dough, upside down (seam side up), into the lined banneton.  Tuck any rough edges of dough in and smooth the bottom slightly.
    • If necessary, flour the top of the dough to prevent the towel from sticking.
    • Lightly cover the dough with the towel.
  • Allow to rise at 2-3 hours.
  • In dry inter-mountain West states or Sahara-like steam-heated Manhattan apartments, the second rise works better if you place the entire bread board or banneton into a large garbage bag, and, holding the bag's mouth nearly closed, suck the air out of the bag and then fill it with exhaled (moist) breath. Then seal and let sit.
    • The moist air allows the dough to rise without drying out. If the rising dough begins to dry out, it will form a stiff surface that prevents any more rising.
  • Preheat oven during the last half hour of this time (see below).

IV.  Bake

  • Place a covered cast iron dutch oven or similar pot in the oven and preheat for half hour at 450-500° F. I've been using a small (3.5 quart) pot so that the bread takes on the shape of the pot even if the dough is very loose, but I think it should also work with a larger pot that would allow you to shape the dough more carefully. The most important thing is that the pot be designed for use in the oven, with two small metal handles and no long parts to burn you.
  • CAREFULLY remove the pot using two oven mitts or very thick pot holders. 500° is very hot!
  • Place your dough in the pot seam side up so that it can expand while cooking.
  • If you make a mess of the dough doing this, shake the pot a few times to even it out and tell your guests that the result is "rustic," or try using a larger pot, slashing the loaf and putting it in right-side up (seam side down).
  • Cover pot and replace in oven.
  • Reduce heat to 450°.
  • Bake 30 minutes.
    • Don't open the oven during this time.
  • Remove the cover from the pot and bake another 20-30 minutes.
    • A finished bread will be dark mahogany in color--darker and richer tasting than a commercial bread.
  • For breads with largely whole wheat or rye flour, cut the baking time by 5 minutes and the temperature by 50°.
  • CAREFULLY turn the pot upside down to remove the bread.
  • Allow bread to cool on a rack. Cool the pot in the oven or somewhere else far from children and other flammable objects.
  • Listen for crackling sounds and admire the fine network of cracks before eating.

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