January 27, 2013

Whole Wheat No-Knead Bread

Winter means scarves, hot chocolate, and most importantly - hearty food. For me, that means warm soups and big loaves of crusty soul warming bread. So for this post, it's still a baked good but it's a savory recipe!

My mother in law makes the most amazing no-knead bread. I'm absolutely in love with it and since my best friend gave me a dutch oven this year, I've been playing with the no-knead bread phenomenon. This recipe is a whole-wheat version so there's less rise than the traditional white loaf (which is pictured below - in instagram form).

By far, the best part of this recipe is the amazing, amazing crust that comes from this bread. Given that it's no-knead, this bread recipe is perfect for setting and forgetting. The time it takes for different rises is incredibly variable and perfect to fitting around any busy day.

My husband has an insatiable sweet tooth, although to his credit - nutella on this loaf is fantastic. Just one of many ways to eat this bread. The original loaf that I'm in love with is from another cook-book but the variation I'll share with you is a mixture of Mark Bittman's version and the Mother in law version. Hope you guys enjoy!

Whole Wheat No-Knead Bread
Adapted from: How to Cook Everything

4 cups bread flour (2 cups whole wheat, 2 cups white)
2 cups + 3 tablespoons tap water at about 70 F
1 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast

Mix together the flour, salt, and yeast. Add your water and stir vigorously until combined. It won't look like a typical loaf - more of a very thick pancake batter consistency. Don't worry - this recipe is incredibly forgiving. Now here's the best part - you can let it rise one of three ways and just do whatever works best for your schedule! Simply cover your bowl with saran wrap and pick one.

1. (For best flavor). Let rise at room temperature for 18-24 hours until about twice in size and the top of your dough is covered in bubbles (soon to turn into crust)
2. Let rise for 2 hours or until doubled at a warm spot in your house
3. Let rise for 1.5-2 hours in the microwave. Microwave a cup of water for about 2 minutes and plop your bowl of dough into the microwave with the cup of water and shut the door. The remaining steam from the water will speed up the rising process.

After this rise, flatten the dough a bit by folding down the edges with an oiled spatula and then pick another rise!

Heat your oven to 450F and put your dutch oven into the oven while it's preheating. You can use another pot as long as it has a good seal on the lid. Something cast iron is ideal. If you have a dutch oven, use it! Once your oven has preheated to 450, your dutch oven should be steaming hot. Take it out of the oven with mittens and very carefully plop your dough (which should have finished it's second rise by now) into the hot dutch oven. Be careful not to deflate your puffy dough!

Spritz the top of your loaf with some water and place the lid back onto the dutch oven.

Reduce the heat to 425 and bake for 50-55 minutes. Remove your dutch oven from your oven and take the lid off. Let your loaf cool and then slice into it. It's absolutely delicious, hearty, and wintery.

Note: The all white flour version gives a much airier, puffier loaf. The whole wheat version gives a denser (although more flavorful) loaf. Play around with it!



January 13, 2013


I recently bought a surplus of lemons, so I thought I would share two of my favorite lemon desserts!

Lemon Bars
These quintessential lemon bars are even prettier, and just as delicious, when made in a tart pan! And surprisingly simple to make.

Recipe from Betty Crocker 

1 cup all purpose
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
¼ cup powdered sugar

2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
Lemon peel grated, from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt

Mix the crust ingredients together (I use my hands) until crumbly. Press into an ungreased 8 or 9 inch square baking dish, or a tart pan if you have it.

Beat the filling ingredients together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes with an electric mixer. Or you can use a whisk and do it by hand if you want an added arm workout.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.

Cut into pieces and enjoy!

Lemon Sponge Pudding
These little cups are unlike any other dessert I’ve made. While they bake, a layer of tart lemon pudding forms on the bottom, and a spongy meringue like layer rises to the top…amazing!

Recipe developed from Martha Stewart 

3 tablespoons butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs, separated
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup milk (can be skin through whole milk)
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (you’ll need 2 or 3 lemons)
2 tablespoons lemon zest (I used the zest of 2 lemons)

In a medium to large bowl, beat just the egg whites with an electric mixture until stiff peaks form. Do this step first so you’ll have clean, ungreasy beaters (any trace of butter or yolk on the beaters will interfere with fluffy egg whites!).

In another medium to large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar. Add the egg yolks and flour. Stir in the milk, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons zest.

Take the beaten eggs whites and fold them into the lemon yolk mixture. You’ll get an essentially homogenous mixture. Ladle this into 8 to 12 ramekins (so cute!).

Place the ramekins in a roasting dish, and pour boiling water up to about half the up the sides of the ramekins. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 25 minutes.

Remove ramekins from pan and cool. Enjoy!