Walnut Raisin No-Knead Bread
Like most other citizens of the world, I love baked goods. Specifically, I am a fan of donuts, croissants, danishes, and bread. I also love cookies and cake, but DCDB (Donuts Croissants Danishes and Bread!) take the cake (pun!). The very best croissant I’ve ever had in my entire life can be purchased at Jules Patisserie on Mount Pleasant Road here in Toronto. I have been to Paris twice, yet the chocolate almond croissant from Jules is singlehandedly the best thing I have ever consumed. I used to live within walking distance of this bakery and made it a habit to go there every Saturday morning to buy one each for me and Husband. A couple of months before we moved, I stopped going because I was trying to be healthy. Big mistake! HUGE! Words to the wise: When one lives within walking distance of the best croissants in the world, it is advisable to take advantage of the close proximity.
We all have regrets, rights?
I am telling you this story to clearly convey my LOVE of baked goods. I’ve never tried making croissants, donuts or danishes before because 1) I don’t have a deep fryer and 2) handling pastry is a scary prospect, but I have attempted baking loaves of bread on many occasions. Making yeast breads is tough, though! It’s so hard to get them to rise. But there is one fool-proof way to make a successful loaf of bread all on your own. The key words, my friends, are NO KNEAD.
Perhaps you are familiar with the No-Knead bread recipe that was popularized by Mark Bittman in the New York Times in 2006. If you aren’t, I recommend you read the linked article. It could possibly change your life. After reading that article, read this one. It’s the one I read earlier this week on the Huffington Post app, most likely while breast-feeding in the middle of the night! I liked how the author said she starts making it before going out on Friday night, and it’s ready by late Saturday morning. Something about that little routine really appealed to me, so I decided to start my own loaf last night!
A little delirious by exhaustion; a little excited by imminent complex carbohydrates
It was truly a perfect night for bread baking, as we were dumped with a load of snow. It turned the sky orange, which is the single best thing about winter.
Winter out my Window
The ingredients are so simple and so frugal! A recipe after my own heart.
3 cups of flour
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1 2/3 cups water
Cornmeal or more flour as needed
I followed the directions closely, but made a couple of substitutions. I don’t have kosher salt, so I just used regular. It calls for Thompson raisins and I just used regular raisins. Maybe they are Thompson raisins? I have no clue. I am not brand savvy when it comes to my shriveled grapes! It also says to bake it in a dutch oven or Le Creuset. Too rich for my blood, so I just used a casserole dish. I never covered it because Husband broke the glass lid years ago, so I just never covered it.
I like how the recipe describes the dough as soft and ugly. I don’t know if I am just a carb fiend, but I have never seen an ugly dough! All dough is beautiful and should be accepted exactly as it is.
You complete me
I left my non-ugly dough to rise overnight for 12 hours which – might I add – was one of those nights where the baby doesn’t want to sleep much. Oy with the poodles already! By the time I was ready to stick this in the oven, I was anxious to get my carb on.
And get my carb on I did
This bread is stunning. It is crisp and crunchy on the outside, and so soft and doughy on the inside. The walnuts and raisins are the perfect addition of salty and sweet. If you bought this loaf in a bakery, you’d easily pay $4 or $5. By my somewhat inaccurate calculations, I would place the cost of materials at under $1. As I lay in bed last night, in between “Henry eruptions”, I thought of other combinations you could use in place of the walnuts and raisins. You could try dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds or sliced almonds and chunks of dried apricot. I am excited by the possibilities.
Warning: This bread is addictive. Consider yourself warned.