Jim Lahey, do you hear me? I’m totally normal, I swear. I just really love good bread.
This bread goes against normal bread making notions when carrot juice is involved. It’s sweet and earthy. It’s light and crispy. It’s got nuts and seeds and a gorgeous color. It blows my mind, because the carrot juice is so right in here. I took a bite and thought, yes… yes. I see what you’ve done here. *mind blown*
Lahey’s method for no-knead bread is simple, though the first time I baked it, it felt complicated and time regimented. But now that I’ve done it a few times, I realized that it’s really quite flexible and easy to do. My timetable on this bread went far longer then Lahey’s, but because my house is kept fairly cool during the winter, it worked out fine. I even thew caution to the wind and refrigerated this dough overnight for awhile, so I could relax with some friends and not stand over an oven. If you ever need to put the pause on dough, consider using the fridge. The temperature will slow down the yeast and send them into hibernation mode again. So really, you are in control of that little bread baby, no need to freak out or clear your whole day.
Here it is after it’s long rise:
(I love that bubble.)
This bread is so easy, you really don’t need to do too much with it anyways. It reminds me of the approach Tamar Adler’s approach to cooking beans—just start it the night before and then it’s there for you in the morning. It’s so simple to cook these lovely things from scratch. There’s really no difficult task in it at all, other then remembering to do it.
I added a few things to Lahey’s recipe. First, sunflower seeds go into the dough, and the amount of currants is reduced to lessen the overall sweetness of the bread. Then, in addition to topping with cumin, I added sesame seeds and poppy seeds. I have decided that I do not bake with poppy seeds enough.
The seed mixture gets sprinkled all over a towel and then the sticky bread is turned over right on top of it. It has an excellent crust.
I love eating this bread toasted for breakfast, topped with farmer’s cheese or just butter. But I do wonder… how would it fair as french toast or a turkey sandwich? I think I better get back to the kitchen to contemplate my love for this bread a little longer.
Recipe slightly adapted from Jim Lahey’s book, My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method.
- 3 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 1/4 teaspoons table salt
- 1/4 teaspoon instant or other active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed carrot juice
- 3/4 cup currants
- 3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
- In a medium bowl, stir together flour, salt, and yeast; add carrot juice. Using a wooden spoon or your hands, mix until a wet, sticky dough is formed, about 30 seconds. If it’s not really sticky to the touch, add another tablespoon or two of water or carrot juice. Add currants and walnuts and mix until incorporated. Cover bowl and let stand until surface is dotted with bubbles and dough is more than doubled in size, 12 to 18 hours.
- You can then continue or place in the fridge for another day. If you place it in the fridge overnight, let it come to room temperature before continuing.
- Generously dust work surface with flour. Using a bowl scraper or rubber spatula, scrape dough out of bowl in one piece. Using floured hands or a bowl scraper, gently lift edges of dough in toward center. Tuck in edges of dough to make a round.
- In a small bowl, mix together the cumin seeds, sesame seeds and poppy seeds.
- Place a clean kitchen towel on work surface. Generously dust towel with flour and sprinkle with the seed mixture. Gently place dough on towel, “seam” (the side that has all the tucked up edges) side-down first. If dough is tacky, dust top lightly with flour. Fold the ends of the towel loosely over dough to cover and place in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours. Dough is ready when it is almost doubled in size and holds an impression when gently poked with a finger. If it springs back, let rise 15 minutes more.
- Meanwhile, one half hour before the end of the second rise, preheat oven to 450 degrees with a rack set in bottom third of oven. Place a covered 4 1/2-to-5 1/2-quart cast-iron, high-quality all-ceramic, or enameled cast-iron (with plastic handle removed and screw hole plugged with aluminum foil) in the center of rack.
- Using pot holders, very carefully remove preheated pot from oven and uncover. Unfold towel and quickly but gently invert dough into pot, seam side-up. Cover pot, return to oven, and bake for 25 minutes.
- Uncover and continue baking until bread is a deep chestnut color, 15 to 20 minutes* more. Using a heatproof spatula or pot holders, carefully lift bread out of pot and place it on a rack; let cool completely.