Last weekend I paid a visit to the King Arthur Flour Company to make several breads from Kneadlessly Simple, my new bread book. While Susan Miller, my host for the event, and I were readying the doughs to use in the next day's demonstration, the recipes got their first compliment: "Wow, these really are simple to mix up," Susan said, sounding a little surprised. (We were in an out of the kitchen in about twenty minutes.)
The next day, as I went through the method for the onlookers gathered around, the response was similar: "That's it?" said one woman. "No kneading, and no mess--really?" asked another. With the Internet abuzz with talk of no-knead breads these day, I was surprised that only one person was familier with the slow rise, set-it-aside-and-forget-it approach. Apparently, many Vermonters don't spend all their waking hours staring at computer screens!
The proof is always in the pudding, or, in this case, the quality of the bread. And I have to say, modestly, of course, that my offerings passed with high marks. In fact, once the first loaf, the Crusty White Peasant-Style Pot Bread, was cut, it disappeared so fast my trusty photographer (my husband) found nothing left to shoot but a few crumbs! (The bottom pic shows it just before its rapid demise.)
Besides stirring up interest and enthusiam in my book, one great thing about showing off the method and the finished breads is that I can discover what home bakers really want to know. The biggest question from the Satuday group: What kind of pot works best for pot breads?
If you're curious about this yourself, check the posting called "The Dish on the Pot." Since I'm getting a steady stream of questions on no-knead baking, the Kitchenlane blog is going to serve as an informal Kneadlessly Simple help desk. (Note: the no-frills cast iron pot shown is a fine choice, delivering deep browning and excellent crisping every time.)