Saturday, June 29, 2013

No-knead Bread, Smoked Edition

(Adapted from Jim Lahey's No-Knead Recipe)

I have been fascinated by the idea of smoking flour since the New York Times article on Pearl and Ash’s smoked bread. Smoking and bread are two of my all time favorite things, so how could I pass up an opportunity to combine the two? I am madly in love with Jim Lahey’s no knead recipe, so I decided to try it out with smoked flour to shake things up a bit. Rest assured I tasted each item at every step of the process, including a bit of the raw smoked flour, and of course, the dough!

Makes: 1-1.5 pound loaf
Time:  smoking: ½ hour
          prep, folding, and shaping: 15 minutes
          rise time: 12-18 hours, plus 2 more hours
          cook time: 45 min - 1 hour


3 cups bread or AP flour + extra for dusting
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
cornmeal as needed


To smoke the flour, you can either use an outside smoker, stove top smoker, or even a large stock pot with a tight fitting lid and steamer insert. I used my big cheif smoker and cherry wood chips for this session. Rig up your smoker, whatever that entails, and pour your flour into a cake pan. Mist the flour in order to let the smoke penetrate better. Once your chips are smoking, place the cake pan of flour inside your smoker, and let the magic happen for thirty minutes.

Next, remove the flour, cool, and sift into a large bowl to remove any clumps. Inhale that sweet smokey scent and take a little taste, I dare you! Add your yeast and salt, than mix in 1 5/8 cups of water until you have a wet, shaggy dough. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and let rise in a 70°F area for 12-18 hours (preferably 18).

Once your dough is filled with tiny air bubbles and enough time has passed, scoop it onto a seriously floured surface. Submerge your hands in flour as well, before folding the dough once or twice. A pastry bench scraper can be useful with this. Cover it loosely with plastic wrap, and let rest for 15 minutes.

Next, dust a 100% cotten towel with flour and cornmeal before quickly shaping the dough into a ball. In order to accomplish this you will need a lot of flour, and the acceptance of mess-making as well as covering yourself in wet sticky dough. Taste it again! Place the ball, (which will totally flatten out into more of a disk, don’t worry about it) seam side down on the towel. Then dust with more flour and cornmeal, and cover with a second cotton towel. Let rise for 2 hours.

Preheat your oven to 450°F a half hour before the dough is finished rising, and place a medium sized ceramic or cast iron dutch oven inside to heat. When the dough has doubled in size and readily springs back from a poke, lift up the towel encasing the dough, and slide the dough off of it into the pot. It will now be seam side up, and basically a mess, but don’t worry, it will come out beautifully! Shake the pan a couple times to evenly distribute the dough, cover, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid, then bake for 15 or 30 more minutes until the bread is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack and listen closely as the crust crackles- one of my absolute favorite sounds. Now taste, taste, taste, then taste some more!

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