At first glance, this Overnight White Bread bears a resemblance to the typical no knead bread... except it is anything but. For example, baking this bread involves some "stretch and folds" that help this bread develop structure and a thick crunchy crust. It's a revelation. You can feel the dough develop that tension that helps the dough hold together and bake into such a tall and lovely loaf. I also think there is some magic involved.
Check out this "crumb." Isn't it gorgeous? The flavor is amazing. I think my only disappointment was that I did not achieve that Forkish break apart irregular gash on top of the bread like I did with the Pure Levain Country Blonde.
To make this bread, you mix the dough after dinner, and then bake the bread the next morning. You need to stay awake for about two or three hours for the "stretch and fold" action, but after that, the dough develops at room temperature as you sleep.
The next day you shape the loaves and let them rise in your bannetons or towel lined bowls while your oven and Dutch ovens preheat. I like to make two loaves and freeze one of them for the middle of the week.
This last week we went on vacation with good friends to Cambria, CA, and I brought along a couple of these loaves. They were perfect every morning with breakfast, and we even barbecued slices for hamburger buns one night for dinner. They were perfect.
This is my fourth Ken Forkish bread from Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast. You need to get this book for the fabulous illustrations on how to do each of the techniques for these breads.
Tools I used to make this bread:
- 12 quart Cambro bucket (a large bowl would work)
- Kitchen scale
- Two 9 inch bannetons
- Two Lodge combo cooker Dutch ovens
- Plastic dough scraper
- Metal bench scraper
- Bowl of water
- My hands (take your rings off unless you want them caked with sticky dough)
Overnight White Bread Recipe
1000 g unbleached all purpose flour
780 g filtered water at 90 to 95 degrees F
22 g salt (not iodized)
1/4 tsp instant yeast
- Mix the flour and water in the Cambro bucket, cover, and let it sit for about 30 minutes.
- Sprinkle the salt and yeast over the top and fold the dough over from all "sides."
- Using your wet hands, pinch the dough a few times to mix all of the ingredients, then refold the dough and pinch again. Fold the dough one more time, cover, and let sit for 30 minutes.
- Do 3 more "stretch and folds," every 30 minutes, cover, and go to bed.
- The next morning, the dough should have nearly tripled in size.
- Generously flour 2 proofing baskets. I used a mix of all purpose and brown rice flour. You can also use a mixing bowl lined with a lint free kitchen towel that has been sprayed with oil and heavily floured.
- With a wet dough scraper or wet hands, loosen the dough from the sides of the bucket and gently turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into two even pieces.
- Shape the dough into boules, creating a taut skin over the top. Place the shaped dough into each basket, seam side down.
- Spray the top of the dough with spray oil, and cover with plastic wrap.
- Allow the loaves to rise about 75 minutes, until they are puffy. How to know if the loaves are ready? Here is Ken Forkish, the author, demonstrating the "finger dent test."
- About 45 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 475 degrees F with two empty covered Dutch ovens placed on the middle rack.
- When you are ready to bake, cut parchment into two 9 inch by 15+ inch pieces.
- Remove the Dutch ovens from the oven and remove the tops. One loaf at a time, place the parchment over the dough and place a plate over it. Flip the dough over, remove the basket, and lift and place the loaf in the Dutch oven by using the parchment as a sling (leave the paper under the dough). Cover the Dutch oven and place it in the hot oven. Repeat with the second loaf.
- Bake covered for 30 minutes, and then remove the Dutch ovens from the hot oven, uncover, and place the loaves on a baking sheet. Be careful not to burn yourself! Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes more, until the interior of the bread reaches 205 to 210 degrees F and the bread is a deep brown. My loaves were ready sooner, so check early.
- Cool completely on a wire rack.
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