Beauty in the Ordinary

This is not about being brilliant, or extraordinary, it's not about wanting to be famous, or making headlines, or trying to impress...this about sharing a 'gift' each day with the lift the spirit of people when they read this blog, to show them the beauty in the ordinary.
"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." Raold Dahl

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

For Chania

I know Chania over at Razmataz
has been making the No-Knead Bread 
I posted about at the beginning of October 
(because she told me so). brilliant friend Mary has sent me a couple more
recipes, so I thought I would share them with Chania,
and anyone else who wants to give it a go.

The technique remains the same, and if you click on the link above (No-Knead Bread), it will take you to the post with the video.  Easy-peasy.

So here are the recipes for:

Walnut-Raisin-Cinnamon No-Knead Bread

3 cups bread flour
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1  1/4 teaspoon table salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon instant dry yeast
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1  1/2 cups cool water (55 to 65 degrees)
wheat bran, cornmeal or additional flour for dusting

Mix together the flour, raisins, walnuts, salt, cinnamon, yeast and pepper.  Mix thoroughly.  Add water.

Follow same process as for white bread.  Oven at 475F

Mary said:  "A couple of points:

- I had been using all purpose flour in Toronto.  I have been using bread flour here (in Florida) and I like the results better.  Give it a try if you haven't already.  It makes the bread less white.  Better texture too I think.

- I used sultana raisins for the bread, although it does not specify these in the recipe.  I like the golden colour when the bread is sliced

- I used grocery store pre-bagged walnuts because that is all I could find that day.  Given the choice, I would use something "fresher" if possible.  I sauteed the walnuts in a pan to release the flavour before chopping them.  I might try to add a greater quantity of the nuts next time if I can't find more flavourful walnuts.

-  I found the bread a bit "unsalty".  I do not salt my food much, so this was a surprise to me.  I am not suggesting adding more salt - just an observation

 I didn't take the temperature of the water - used common sense."

Jacqueline said:  "I stayed with the all-purpose flour, because I have a HUGE
sack of it.  When I get close to the end, I will give the bread flour a go.
I used raisins (because I had them in house), looked just fine to me.
I too toasted the walnuts, not an overpowering walnut flavour.  I think, like Mary, I need to find a tastier source of nut.
I found the salt flavour just fine.  But I use sea-salt (Mary said she used table salt).  That may have made the difference.
I didn't take the temperature of the water, just used cold (but not from the fridge)."

Whole Wheat 

2 1/4 cups bread flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 teaspoons table salt
1/2 teaspoon instant dry yeast
1 1/3 cups cool water

Oven at 475.  Same method.

Mary really liked this one.  I haven't tried it yet.  Have to say, I'm not a huge fan of whole-wheat flavour.  I prefer rye...but I will try this, this week.

So, Chania, (and anyone else) if you make it...let me know your thoughts.
Happy Baking!


  1. Jacqueline, I average three loaves a week. My son and his finace are now making it...(someone gave them a cast iron pot for engagement) and my friend Lorraine came to watch me make it, and now makes it late afternoon for her family of English slate roofers who come in cold and starving at 5pm. Plus her niece (11) makes it for her family....I tried the basic recipe with whole wheat flour (all 3 cups) and it was dry. I use PC organic flour and it is lovely.

    I think the raisin loaf sound great...thnk of the French toast it could make the next day. Chopped pecans may be fresher tasting in it.

    My workman who have been here since October when you first posted it eat huge slabs of it with jam and a cup of tea.

    The only problem is we can;t eat it quicly and it goes stale (see what preservatives do).

    I love it....thank you so much for posting that in October...

  2. I forgot to tell you that instead of plastic wrap, I use a shower cap so I don;t have to chuck it out each time.

  3. Chania...I'm so happy you are enjoying the bread and spreading the word...bread without loaf at a time!
    If you can track down a linen bread bag, it does help extend the shelf life but only by another half day. I think Lahey appreciated this dilemma when he wrote the book as one complete chapter is devoted to 'Stale Bread". We make Italian Bread Salad sometimes with the stale portion, or croutons, or breadcrumbs...and if all else fails, the ducks and birds get to share some too!
    Thanks for the organic flour tip and the shower cap (that's brilliant!), I will definitely give them both a try, and yes pecans and maybe cranberries for a Christmas loaf.
    Having another bread-buddy is fun!

  4. Thanks, Jacqueline! I love walnut bread and will be giving this easy recipe a go.

  5. Mise...I can feel another convert coming on!

  6. I've made no-knead bread a few times - it always comes out OK, but it never rises very high, even with fresh yeast. Wonder what I'm doing wrong... anyway, I'm definitely going to try out these two recipes. Thanks for sharing them :-)

    {Aren't Simon Baker & Kyle Chandler ADORABLE!? We can share them when you come visit me on my island ;-) }

  7. And why haven't I made this yet???

  8. I am going for it as soon as I get home...xxxx
    I can smell it from here...


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