I love to bake. But I never bake bread. Why? Because it’s an exact science. You don’t get it right, you have a sticky lump of dough. And all the kneading! When am I supposed to catch up on Grey’s Anatomy if I’m standing around kneading and letting bread rise, just to knead it again? Sure, once I made Irish Soda Bread, but that was so easy I let Grace help with it.
When I saw this no-knead recipe on the back of the King Arthur flour bag I was intrigued. No kneading? Well ok, lets try it. I’m always a little leery of “easy” and “quick” recipes. I even let Grace assist me again. There we were, trucking along, ingredients perfectly measured and in the mixer with the dough hook, dough coming together nicely and BAM. I realized I’d forgotten the orange juice. I had a moment of panic. Did I add it to the already nicely formed dough? Or leave it out and risk the chemical reaction needed to make bread not happening because I left out the juice? This is why I dont’ bake bread! I added the juice and the mixture got sorta . . . slimy. So I added some more flour. “Did we ruin it mom?” Grace asked. I was sure we had, but I didn’t want to disappoint so I dumped it into the loaf pan and covered it and left it to rise. She kept asking. Every 20 minutes. “Did we ruin it?” Oy.
Turns out, we didn’t ruin it. It baked up really well. The bread is much more dense than the presliced stuff from the store, perfect with our chicken noodle soup. So, if you’re a big scaredy cat of bread like I am, you might want to try this. It’s a simple forary into bread baking. Go ahead, amaze people!
- 1 Cup lukewarm water
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/4 melted butter or vegetable oil
- 3 Tbsp molasses/maple syrup/dark corn syrup
- 2 teas. instant yeast (usually one packet, but pour out and measure just to be sure)
- 1/4 dry milk
- 1 1/4 teasp. salt
- 3 Cups King Arthur whole wheat flour
- Heavily grease a 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan (I didn’t have one, I used my 9×5). This loaf tends to stick, so really grease it up. I used parchment to ensure it would come out, but that keeps the crust a little lighter.
- Mix all ingredients in bowl of electric mixer. Mix vigorously for about 3 minutes. The dough won’t be pourable, but will be sticky. Put into loaf pan. Lightly cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap (I also then put a tea towel over mine, because I’d seen my gramma do that, not because I think it helps it rise), set loaf out of drafts and let rise for 90 minutes until it is about doubled in size.
- Place into a preheated 350 oven. Bake for 15 minutes, then tent with foil if necessary to prevent excess browning. Bake for another 15-20 minutes, until golden and the center temp reaches between 190 and 195 degrees.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before removing loaf from pan. Let cool completely on a rack before slicing. Yeah right.