Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cinnamon Raisin Walnut No-Knead Bread

How in the world it has taken me this long to try this recipe out of Jim Lahey's My Bread is both a sin and a tragedy.
Thank goodness for redemption!

This bread is as fantastic as it looks. Unlike a lot of cinnamon-raisin breads, this one has no sugar, so it isn't sweet at all. Making it the perfect accompaniment for some jam. And there is just this hint of spice, from a pinch of black pepper, that is surprisingly perfect. It really elevates it.
And, of course, it is no-knead... so it is so easy to make. So, there is no excuse not to treat yourself with this bread.

As ever, start with the dry ingredients. This time, with flour, raisins, walnuts, cinnamon, salt, a bit more yeast than the regular no-knead, and just a pinch of black pepper.
Add in the water. Mix it up.
Let it rise for 12-18 hours, until it has doubled in size.
Pour it out on a floured surface. Fold over the ends, spring it into something approximately something round. Flip it over, seam side down on a tea-towel dusted with flour or wheat bran.
Let that rise for 1-2 hours.
Then, plop it into your pre-heated Dutch oven. Bake it for 30 minutes with the lid on, and 15 with it off. And, I'm telling you, your apartment is going to smell delicious.

Then... you have to wait. Which is hard, but really is necessary (I did an experiment). And, then... and, then... slice into it.
Really, you cannot underestimate the pleasure you will get out of this loaf. Enjoy!
Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread (Pan co'Santi) (from My Bread by Jim Lahey)
3 cups (400 g) bread flour
1/2 cup (85 grams) raisins
1/2 cup (50 grams) walnuts
1 1/4 tsp (8 grams) table salt
3/4 tsp (2 grams) cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2 grams) instant or active dry yeast
a pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups (350 grams) cool (55-65 degree F) water
wheat bran, cornmeal, or additional flour for dusting

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, raisins, walnuts, salt, cinnamon, yeast, and pepper, mixing thoroughly. Add the water and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until you have a wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds. If it's not really sticky to the touch, mix in another tablespoon or two of water. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough is more than doubled in size, 12 to 18 hours.

When the first rise is complete, generously dust a work surface with flour. Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece. Using lightly floured hands or a bowl scraper or a spatula, lift the edges of the dough in toward the center. Nudge and tuck in the edges of the dough to make it round.

Place a tea towel on your work surface and generously dust it with wheat bran, cornmeal, or flour. Gently place the dough on the towel, seam side down. If the dough is tacky, dust the top lightly with wheat bran, cornmeal, or flour. Fold the ends of the towel loosely over the dough to cover it and place it in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours. The dough is ready when it is almost doubled. If you gently poke it with your finger, it should hold the impression. If it springs back, let it rise for another 15 minutes.

Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 475 F and place the covered 4 1/2-5 1/2 quart heavy pot in the center of the rack.*

Using pot holders, carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven and uncover it. Unfold the tea towel and quickly but gently invert the dough into the pot, seam side up. Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the lid and continue back until the bread is a deep chestnut color but not burnt, 15 to 30 minutes more.** Use a heatproof spatula or pot holders to gently lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool thoroughly.

*Lahey has you put the rack in the lower third of the oven, but that always burns the bottom of my. So I put my rack in the middle of the oven.
**Mine is always done in the 15 minute range.

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