Welcome to my Adventures in Bread-Making! Every time I grab a packet of bread in the supermarket, I try not to read the long-list of ingredients. However, I know that this list includes unhealthy and unpronounceable ingredients like High Fructose Corn Syrup, Soy Lecithin, Xanthan Gum, Soybean Oil and other artificial preservatives & colors. I have pretty much stopped buying Commercial Bread. I can survive without this ready-to-eat Commercial Bread!
After researching a lot on Homemade Bread, I decided it was time to give it a try. I am not a baker and I often hesitate to bake because I am not sure of the outcome. Other than the occasional Banana Bread & Pizza, I pretty much have no experience with baking. When I first saw the recipe for this popular No-Knead Bread, I was hooked on to it. If Bread could be made with bare minimal ingredients and without kneading, I had to try it at home.
Since the original recipe for No-Knead Bread used All Purpose Flour and being in the mood for adventure (or disaster), I was determined to find a 100% Whole Wheat No-Knead Bread Recipe. I found a few helpful websites here, here and here.
Well, the no-knead recipe turned out to be a good learning experience. I made a lot of mistakes and had to put in extra effort. I was lucky that the Bread turned out to be a huge success. It tasted so simple yet satisfying. I feared the bread would be dense and chewy but surprisingly, the crumb was light and soft, and the crust was thin and flaky. It reminded me of the good old days when we used to buy Fresh Bakery bread before the era of “Modern Bread” in India.
- Whole Wheat Atta (Chappathi Flour) – 3 cups
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Yeast – 1/2 tsp
- Luke Warm Water – 1.5 cups approx (Be careful, I added 2 cups of water and it was a disaster)
- Additional Flour (All Purpose or Wheat) – for dusting
- Olive Oil – for greasing the pan
- Butter – for brushing the crust
- Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Slowly, add water in little quantities and combine all the ingredients to get a somewhat sticky dough. Feel free to use your hands for mixing the dough. The dough shouldn’t be watery or else it will become a mess.
- Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise for 12-18 hours (I kept it for 12 hours). The risen dough will have small bubbles on the surface and will be light and airy.
- Lightly flour your working surface with more Atta Flour. Transfer the dough onto the surface with a spatula.
- If the dough is really sticky and unmanageable, you will need to add more flour and knead lightly. Fold the dough onto itself couple of times. Do not knead heavily as we do not want to punch down all the air bubbles.
- Work on the dough to form your desired shape. I shaped it into a ball since I was using a 10″ round and 4″ deep casserole for baking.
- Lightly oil the baking pan and sprinkle flour at the bottom. Transfer the shaped dough into the baking pan. Cover with a cloth an allow it to rise for another 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 375 degree F. Gently, make a few slits on the dough with a sharp knife. Lightly brush the surface of the dough with olive oil.
- Cover the baking pan with an tight, oven-safe lid and place it in the oven.
- Bake for around 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake for another 15-20 minutes.
- Remove from oven and brush little butter on the outer crust. Cool completely before slicing.
- First and foremost, I used Atta/Chappati Flour (the only flour I had at home) instead of Whole Wheat Flour (which has bran) and so I ended up with a really sticky dough as I wasn’t careful with the amount of water. I had to add more Atta flour and knead for around 15 minutes to change the sticky dough to a manageable dough. So much for the no-kneading part! I advise you to add water little by little to form a dough that holds shape and is a bit sticky but it shouldn’t be too watery. The amount of water depends on the Atta Flour.
- Also, most of the recipes called for baking the bread at high temperatures in a Dutch Oven which I didn’t have at home. So, I ended up baking the bread at a lower temperature in an oven-safe stoneware casserole with lid. It was an unexpected success. I need to try baking it in uncovered in a Loaf Pan but am not sure how it will come out.
- Do not skip the second rising mentioned in step 6.