Crispy and Chewy No-knead Bread

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I love freshly baked bread. It is one of my favorite things to create in the kitchen, especially in the colder months. The recipes I have tried in the past have all been the kneading type with lots of all-purpose flour. So, when I came across a recipe online at http://www.the-baker-chick.com which in turn referenced another posted at http://www.simplysogood.com, I thought it’s worth the try since it involved very minimal time commitment.

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This recipe is very versatile meaning you can mix in various things. Janet at Simply So Good gives you a whole bunch of options. In my version, I added a heaping tablespoon of harissa sauce. It infused the bread with bit of heat and a touch of caraway flavor in addition to giving it an orangish tint.

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Replacing half the all purpose flour with whole wheat and adding in a bit of ground flax made the bread a bit more wholesome. It is a little denser than the white bread variety (which I would make next just for comparison), but packs a lot of flavor. I brushed a slice lightly with olive oil and toasted in a pan and it was delightfully crispy and chewy. Whether you are looking for a no-knead bread recipe option or something different for a change, this recipe is a definite keeper.

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One caveat – this dough needs to be proofed for a long period, typically about 12 – 18 hours or so. I proofed mine for about 19 hours and it was great. So, if you are like me, feel free to mix up the dough on impulse and let it do its thing!

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Crispy and Chewy No-Knead Bread

  • Servings: potentially could serve just 4 🙂
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Ingredients
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup ground flax
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup warm water
1 heaping tablespoon harissa sauce, optional
1 1/4 cups room temperature water

Preparation
1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in 1/4 cup of warm water and set aside for 5 min till frothy.
2. In a large bowl, combine all flours and salt.
3. Add yeast mixture and remaining water to the flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula till a “messy” dough forms. If using harissa or another add-in item, stir it in while adding the water and yeast mixture.
4. Cover with a plastic wrap and keep on the counter top or in a cool oven for 12-18 hours or more till the dough bubbles up and more than doubles.
5. At the end of the proofing time, remove the bowl from the oven and set oven to 450F.
6. After the oven is preheated, place a pizza stone or an oven proof ceramic container in the oven to preheat for 15-20 minutes at least.
7. Invert a large cookie sheet and place a sheet of parchment paper on it. Empty the dough onto the parchment paper and with heavily floured hands gently mold the dough into a dome shape (mine was about 8 inches or so in diameter).
8. Open the oven and quickly slide the parchment sheet with the bread onto the pizza stone. If using a ceramic bowl, slowly invert the dough into the container.
9. CREATING STEAM EFFECT – I used a heavy stainless steel bowl to cover the dough while baking so the moisture from the sticky dough could act as the steam. If you don’t have a similar set up (or if not using a ceramic dish with a lid), you could preheat a broiler pan on the bottom rack of the oven while preheating the pizza stone and add about 2 cups or so of hot water as soon as you slide the dough onto the pizza stone.
10. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove cover and continue baking for another 15 minutes or so till the bread sounds hollow when tapped.
11. Carefully remove from pan and loosely cover with a kitchen/bread towel.
12. Serve toasted or untoasted with spreads of your choice or just a dip of olive oil and garlic.

Crispy and Healthy Pizza

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I like pizza. I don’t know if I love it, but I certainly enjoy it every now and then. Having said that, anytime someone suggests a carryout pizza, I am usually not keen with the choice. I just don’t feel good about chomping down on a slice of a typical carryout pizza – with a massive crust made with all white flour, tons of cheese (I wonder if it is all 100% dairy based), so-so sauce and a smattering of toppings that you may or may not really care for – leave alone worry about the calories! So, that pretty much leaves me with wanting (and in a peculiar way, longing) to make home-made pizza that not only tastes good but better for you!

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I like to try out different recipes for the crust, preferring to use a combo of flours. This recipe, to everyone’s delight, turned out to be soooo good – crispy and chewy with a nutty note. I wish I had some whole wheat flour on hand to replace some of the all-purpose flour with (what a crime!). Next time! Anyway, if you are the type that loves this type of crust, forget about the Chicago-style deep dish crust, and give this one a try. I think your body will thank for it as well! 🙂

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Crispy and Healthy Pizza

  • Servings: 6
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INGREDIENTS

Pizza crust
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour (replace some of the white flour with whole wheat if you would like)
1/2 cup soy flour
1/4 cup ground flax
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 packet active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon wheat bran
1 tablespoon olive oil

Pizza toppings
1 cup pizza sauce
1/2 – 2/3 cup part-skim mozzarella (for one pizza)
1/2 -2/3 cup sliced fresh mozzarella (for other pizza)
1/2 cup diced chicken breast
1/2 cup diced green peppers
1 cup broiled or sautéed broccoli florets
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
2 slices of cooked bacon slices, crumbled

Preparation
1. Mix all purpose flour, soy flour, ground flax, salt, yeast and sugar in a stand mixer or a large bowl (I went with the bowl this time around).
2. Add the olive oil, followed by warm water in a slow stream and mix to form a dough.
3. If the dough is too sticky, add a tablespoon of all-purpose or whole wheat flour. If it is too dry, add a tablespoon of warm water.
4. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes to make a smooth dough.
5. Coat a large bowl with the additional tablespoon of olive oil. Place the dough ball there and toss to coat with oil.
6. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and leave in a warm, drought-free spot till the dough doubles in size.
7. When ready to prepare the pizza, preheat oven to 500F.
8. Punch down the dough and divide into two parts.
9. Sprinkle a cookie sheet or pizza stone with wheat bran (or cornmeal if you prefer) and flatten one part of dough to a thin crust, about 1/4 inch thick. You can flatten using the tips of your fingers. Repeat with the other part of the dough.
10. Bake the crust for about 7 minutes. Remove from oven.
11. Spread about 1/2 cup of pizza sauce of your preference. Sprinkle with part-skim mozzarella cheese or sliced fresh mozzarella. Follow with toppings of your choice. I used a combination of broiled broccoli, green peppers, baby bella mushrooms, green onions, diced cooked chicken breast and bit of cooked and crumbled center-cut bacon.
12. Bake the pizza till cheese melts and toppings (fresh veggies and pre-cooked meats) are heated through (about 5-7 minutes).