Thursday 19 July 2012

Irish No Knead Bread

At the end of a hard day last week I bought myself some beer.  For baking bread of course.   Well I was passing the bottle shop because the car was at the mechanics.  It is the second time I have made this Irish No Knead bread.  I loved it both times.  I just wish so many of my photos of it hadn't disappeared into the ether.

You see, I take too many photos.  And I am not good at deleting photos.  A couple of years ago, I had iPhoto clogging up my computer and thought I moved all my photos onto an external hard drive.  They have gone.  Like snow on the water.  Fortunately I have kept most of the good photos but I thought I had the whole lot to play with.

Recently, I have had problems with my computer being too full of photos so I thought I might try and delete more as I went.  In my enthusiasm, I have deleted a lovely photo of this bread from the weekend.  Argh!  I really am not good at deleting photos.

The first time I tried this recipe I made lots of notes about it seeming all wrong because it was much stiffer than Jim Lahey's original no-knead bread.  I got the measurements wrong and then forgot about the timer.  In my defence, I also made lots of obscure notes about nappies, baking florentines, and a disagreement over a crochet rug.  Yet my misgivings were unfounded.  The bread was brilliant and every bit as burnt-looking at Jim Lahey's.  I wish I had a picture to show you.

When I made the bread last weekend, I didn't have buttermilk so I used a mixture of yoghurt and soy milk and I found the dough to be slow to rise.  I left it on the second rise for 6 hours rather than 2 hours because I took Sylvia for a bike ride and then we hopped on a tram to go to a bookshop and ended up coming home laden with craft stuff, material scraps, vegies and lots of good books (The Wombles, Milly Molly Mandy and The Jolly Postman).  I also substituted oats for some of the wholemeal flour.  The recipe was forgiving yet again and the bread was delicious. This is a loaf that is a little healthier and a little fancier than regular bread.  What's not to want to photograph!

I am sending this to Susan for her weekly YeastSpotting event.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: CC Vegetarian Moussaka
Two years ago: Fish and chips – reflections of a vegetarian
Three years ago: From Disaster to Parfait
Four years ago: Pumpkin, PC Stories and a Roast
Five years ago: Dench bread and Dukkah: simple pleasures

Irish No-Knead Bread
Adapted from Jim Lahey's My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method

2 1/4 cup white bread flour
1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup wholemeal flour
1 tbsp wheatgerm
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried yeast
3/4 cup stout
3/4 cup buttermilk (I used 1/2 cup yoghurt and 1/4 cup soy milk)
flour and wheatgerm, extra

Mix all ingredients, except extra flour and wheatgerm.  Knead or stir for about 30 seconds. 

Cover with clingwrap and leave for 12-18 hours.  It should be slightly bubbly and risen.

Using floured hands or scraper, tip dough onto a floured board and shape into a ball or loaf shape.  Scatter a tea towel flour or wheatgerm (or both - I used rather a lot as Sylvia helped with scattering and my last attempt at no knead bread still can be seen on the tea towel despite two washes so I was a little paranoid).  Place dough on the tea towel.  Scatter with more flour and/or wheatgerm and fold tea towel over the dough.

Leave dough to rise for 1-2 hours or until risen.  I let mine go a bit longer than this the first time but I let it rise for 6 hours on the weekend which I think may have been a bit too long.

Thirty minutes before the dough is ready, place a lidded baking dish (cast iron or stoneware) in the oven and heat to 230 C.  After 30 minutes, take baking dish out of the oven and tip the dough in.  Shake about a little if needed to even out dough in the dish.

Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on and then another 15-30 minutes without lid on or until bread is a deep brown.  Cool on a wire rack.

On the stereo:
Super Trouper – ABBA


  1. I'm not a baker and this no knead bread is just the perfect recipe for me to start baking bread. Thanks!

    1. thanks mom gateway - no knead bread is a great way to start baking bread

  2. This post is making me smile in so many ways - the bread looks great, I fondly remember The Wombles, Milly Molly Mandy and The Jolly Postman (and love the sound of your outing that involved getting them), and I must make sure my mother never reads this post because she is so worried about deleting photos she seems to save them all on her computer twice. Needless to say, her iPhoto takes about 4 hours to even open.

    1. Thanks Kari - I was very pleased with the books - though often I feel I could just buy the whole bookstore because I love books so much - and I think I would be quite sympathetic to your mother's concerns about photos! (though I have discovered that iPhoto is no good for this attitude)

  3. I almost exclusively use beer for bread baking also. :) Great loaf!

    1. Thanks Joanne - so many gorgeous boutique beer bottles these days that I am glad I can use it somehow

  4. Making bread is very soothing, but there is definitely room for a good no-knead bread. I see the wee hands helping you there. Fab!

    1. Thanks Jac - the wee hands are all over anything I bake - but at least it doesn't hurt to be extravagant with a bit of flour and wheatgerm (she is just baking playdough cookies for me right now!)

  5. I love the idea of no knead breads. I used Jim Lahey's other one for a regular loaf and although it took time, it was so easy! :)

    1. Thanks Lorraine - I love Jim Lahey's book - it is so beautiful to look at and is really interesting to read his advice/experience with this style of bread

  6. LOL - at the end of a long week, you could be forgiven for needing the beer for something other than baking. This bread looks great.

    1. Thanks Cakelaw - I like the idea of these stronger beers for winter but the taste is too strong - unless in a nice bread or stew (the leftovers went into a bean and beer stew with dumplings)


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