Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sunday Two-fer: No Knead Bread and Son Makes Brownies (without Ketchup!)

Sunday! Graduation ceremonies attended last night, a perfect day to avoid grading that last set of finals I got on Friday afternoon. Had several things going on in the kitchen today, including making a vat of hummus starting from dried chickpeas which husband said was "too foamy." Too foamy? What the heck does that even mean? "Too much air." Too much... air? Good Lord. Next time I let him make the hummus.

First up, son sees me in the kitchen and inquires as to the state of the dessert situation. I ask him what he wants. "Brownies!" He checks with his sister. "Brownies!" Okey dokey. "Can I help?" Well, it seems it's time to teach son to make brownies. He's made cakes before (from scratch, with supervision). Plus, following a recipe will build those reading skills! I haul out the America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book. Woohoo! A recipe for "Classic Brownies." For beginners, even! I make him read through the whole recipe. What temperature do we set the oven to?? 325. Pan? 13"x9". How can you tell it's 13"x9"?  Well, see that little designation on the pan that says 13"x9"? Yes, that one. How do we prep the pan? Greased aluminum foil sling? Forget it. That's just America's Test Kitchen fancy talk. Spritz with Pam.

Once we got the basics set up, it was on to the actual recipe. 6 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted with 12 T butter. No, you don't want to eat that (this time to my daughter). No you REALLY don't want to eat that. You really want to eat that? Go ahead. ...See, told you. Time to add the sugar. 2 1/4 cups. Measure it out. Beat it into the chocolate mixture.
Now add the four eggs. One at a time.
Now 1 T of vanilla. One tablespoon. The whole tablespoon. Yes, all the way to the top. Now mix up the dry ingredients. 5 oz cake flour. This is how the scale works. Ok, 3/4 tsp. baking powder. 1 tsp salt. Mix it up. Now fold it into the chocolate mixture.
Do you remember how to fold? You do! Mom's so proud! (sniff) Ok, let's put this sucker in the oven and bake it. How long? Yes, it's in the recipe. Keep reading. Keep reading. Yep, there it is--35 minutes.
And here is proud son, getting ready to eat the first brownie!

Ok, now onto the bread. I made this one. I've been playing around with no-knead bread--although I'm certainly no expert on this stuff yet. I've been working on modifying this loaf from the blog Nine Bean-Rows. Here's what I came up with this time:

2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup dark rye flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp dry yeast
1 T salt
2 tsp sugar
1 cup beer (I used some Corona in our fridge)
1/3 cup water
2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Mix together the dry ingredients. Mix the liquid. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon until well combined (I actually kneaded a little with my hand to get in the last of the flour). Place in a greased bowl. Let sit overnight (I let it sit about 12 hours). The next day, turn out of the bowl. Knead a few times, and form a ball. Put on a plate with cornmeal to keep the dough from sticking when it is baked.
Let it rise for about two hours. 30 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450, and place a dutch oven with lid in the oven to heat. When ready to bake, slash the loaf three times and drop the loaf into the heated dutch oven, cover with lid, and place into the oven. Reduce heat to 425 and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the lid, and let the loaf continue to bake for another 25 minutes, until the crust looks dark but not burnt. Let cool, slice, and eat!
Takes time, but very little work. The vinegar gives it a nice tang and the beer gives it some richness. It has a very distinctive taste. The original recipe uses only white flour, less beer and more vinegar, but I like this multi-grain bread better. Way better than the crap you get from the grocery store!


  1. Actually, no-knead bread looks like something I might conceivably be able to pull off. What's the advantage of cooking it in a dutch oven, though?

  2. Most no-knead recipes have you cook it in a dutch oven. The idea is to superheat the dutch oven (some recipes have you start out by warming it up to 500 degrees) so that when you put in the bread it gets an instant extra rise from the intense heat, and the close heat helps form a good crust. If you had, say, a commercial bread oven or wood-fired brick bread oven you wouldn't need the dutch oven. The dutch oven is an inexpensive way of boosting the heat. I used a Calphalon cooking pot with a metal lid (that works just fine), but you can buy a traditional dutch oven--Lodge makes a good one.

  3. I am totally going to make this bread this week!

  4. But what's up with kneading no-knead bread? Does that not make it...kneaded bread?

  5. Nah--that was just me being anal about getting all the flour in. I should have just added a little more liquid. :-)

  6. I love the face on your boy, so proud holding those cupcakes!
    The bread looks fantastic!

  7. Thanks, Magda! I love your site!