Ali’s no-knead peasant bread

Ali's No-knead Peasant Bread | www.theclevercarrot.com

What I love about bread is that we’re constantly learning.

Let me introduce you to my friend Ali. She’s the creator of Alexandra’s Kitchen, mother of 4 totally adorable cutie pies, and author of Bread Toast Crumbs: Recipes for No-Knead Loaves and Meals to Savor Every Slice.

The book is just as fabulous as she is.

Ali’s story is based on her mother’s peasant bread which is an approachable, no-knead loaf that absolutely anyone can make.

The dough is made with instant yeast, so you can expect for it to rise pretty quickly when left in a warm spot. Then it’s shaped and divided between two buttered bowls (BUTTERED!) and left to rise again for a short amount of time. When ready to bake (and this is the cool part) the doughs are baked to golden perfection directly in their happy little bowls.

How fun is that?

What’s practical too, is that her peasant bread is the gateway to many other breads in the book including this Oatmeal-Maple Bread and this insanely good-looking Cinnamon Sugar Monkey Bread.

But as scrumptious as it all sounds, her mother’s recipe was passed down with a catch.

She was forbidden to share it with anyone.

And so for many years, she didn’t. Ali kept it a secret.

Occasionally, the bread would make an appearance on her blog and naturally everyone wanted to know how to make it.

Following her mom’s orders, she told the readers they could find the recipe on the back of a bag of King Arthur Flour. But this wasn’t really the case.

Soon enough, her readers caught on and were too savvy to bite the bait. Ali couldn’t keep the secret for any longer!

The recipe was eventually published on her blog and it was received with great success. The creation of Bread Toast Crumbs followed and the rest of the story is delicious, peasant bread history.

Ali's No-knead Peasant Bread | www.theclevercarrot.com

I’m incredibly excited to share this recipe with you not only because I love bread, new methods, and fun techniques, but I’m inspired to support the work of a fellow bread baker and good friend.

So let’s make some peasant bread, shall we?

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no-knead honey whole wheat bread

no-knead honey whole wheat bread | The Clever Carrot

The internet is a beautiful thing.

Back when I postedthe recipe for no-knead artisan bread, I made a new friend on facebook. Her name is Hendrika, and she is from the Netherlands.

Hendrika (also a baker) recommended making a whole grain version. She said to replace 25% of the flour with whole grain flour, and increase it up to 50% for a heartier bread. Then roll the dough in old fashioned oats before the second rise.

I took her suggestion…

no-knead honey whole wheat bread | The Clever Carrot

And it worked beautifully! I even added a little honey for a hint of sweetness.

What’s great about this recipe, is that it’s made in the exact same fashion as the original no-knead bread (who doesn’t love baking in a dutch oven?!) The only difference is the ingredients.

I went with a smaller amount of whole wheat flour as I prefer a lighter, less dense bread. However, I’ve made it using a 50/50 ratio and it was just as good- it’s simply a matter of personal taste. I also added a touch more salt to enhance the flavor. The result was a nutty, golden bread bread with a soft and chewy interior. The crust was perfectly crisp.

no-knead honey whole wheat bread | The Clever Carrot

And that is the beauty of the internet. It brings together like minded people.

As for us, we’ve been enjoying the fruits of my labor in sandwiches, french toast and dunking in soup. The kids go crazy for this bread. Any leftovers are blitzed into breadcrumbs and stashed away in the freezer. As I’ve mentioned before, there’s nothing like making your own bread and once you get started the possibilities are endless. Thanks Hendrika, for the fabulous idea!

For a step-by-step tutorial on making no-knead artisan bread, click here!

*It’s interesting to note that this dough is not as wet as the original version. Whole wheat flour absorbs more water resulting in a drier dough. Keep in mind that you might need to add additional water to bring the dough together. Do this 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency.

no-knead honey whole wheat bread
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2¼ c. bread flour (not all-purpose) + more for dusting
  • ¾ c. whole wheat flour
  • ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1½ c. water
  • ¾ c. old fashioned oats, for rolling
  • 6 quart dutch oven
* I used King Arthur bread & whole wheat flour and SAF instant yeast.
* You can use any 6 quart dutch oven, cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic bakeware (with lid) that can heat up to 500 degrees F.
Instructions
  1. Make the dough: In a large bowl whisk the bread flour, whole wheat flour, yeast and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the honey and water. Add the water mixture to the dry ingredients, and stir until combined; dough will be wet and sticky. I If your dough seems very dry, add more water (do this 1 tablespoon at a time) until desired consistency is achieved.
  2. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled container and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for 14 hours- overnight, at room temperature (about 70 degrees). Your dough is ready when it has puffed up in volume, about 1½ -2x its original size. *See note below.
  3. Shape the dough: Lightly flour a sheet of parchment paper and place the dough on top. Fold the dough in half and then fold it in half again.
  4. Add more flour to the parchment paper and sprinkle the oats on top. Shape the dough into a ball by tucking the sides underneath itself, and then roll it around in the oats to coat. Place the dough onto the paper seam side down. Cover and rest again until puffy in shape. This will take 30 minutes- 2 hours depending on how warm your kitchen is.
  5. Preheat your oven to 400 F. Put a (6 quart) dutch oven pot inside for 20 minutes. When the dough is ready, remove pot from the oven. Place your hand underneath the parchment paper and invert the dough into the pot. The seam will be facing up. Cover the pot with the lid.
  6. Bake the dough: Place your bread into the oven, and immediately reduce the temperature from 400 to 375 F. Bake for 30 minutes, covered. If you find that your bread is browning too quickly, reduce the temperature to 350 F. Remove the lid and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown.
  7. To make sure that the bread is completely cooked through, take its temperature. Carefully tip the bread onto its side and insert a thermometer into the bottom. It should read 200-205 F. If not, place it back into the oven until it it's cooked through. If you’re worried about the top getting too brown, loosely tent the pot with foil.
  8. When finished, transfer the bread to a wire rack. It should feel light and make a hollow sound when you give it a knock underneath. Let it cool for at least 1 hour. Cutting it too soon might ruin the texture resulting in a gummy crumb!
Notes
* If your dough isn’t puffed and bubbly after the initial rise, place it in the microwave with the light on (keeping the door ajar). The warmth from the light will give the yeast a boost. My friend Celia gave me this tip and it works like a charm, especially in chilly kitchens!