For years and years I’ve had my eye on the Sullivan Street Bakery recipe for no knead bread, and the other weekend I finally got round to baking it! Oh how did I put it off for so long? How could I do that? The only semi rational reason I can think of is the time factor, but even that should not have been enough … note to myself (and all of you) do not let anything put you off making this bread, it is to die for.
What is there not to like? A crisp, lightly golden exterior yielding a chewy, flavoursome interior that just makes you want to rip the bread apart with your bear hands and devour with no added extras. If you can find the inner strength though do try it dipped in lovely olive oil or spread with a good butter.
I can assure you that Jim Lahey (of Sullivan Street Bakery) is one very clever baker, to come up with such a simple recipe for a bread this good he must be. The concept is a bread which is not kneaded at all, and develops it’s texture, gluten and flavour through an incredibly long rise. (12-18 hours.- but the longer time the better.) It is baked at a high temperature in a heavy, covered, roomy pot, which is preheated which mimics the effect of a real bakers oven. My choice here was a Chasseur Cast Iron Round Casserole Blue 22cm which was roomy enough to let the bread rise sufficiently in baking, a slightly smaller pot would work also. I scattered the bread dough with cornmeal before baking which helped add to the crusts fabulous texture and slightly nutty flavour.
I went on to serve slices of this gorgeous bread with a lovely Spanish inspired salad, with an array of produce from the fabulous online store Delicioso. Delicioso sell a lovely variety of both Spanish food, drink, kitchen equipment and skin-care produce, all of which is of a great quality and not unreasonable prices, but the key thing that makes me go back to them time and time again is their stunning level of customer service; for example on my last order one of the items I chose was going to be unavailable for a few days so to speed up delivery (it came the following day) Delicioso provided me with a superior (and more expensive) product at no extra cost.
So what did I use in my salad? Well it was based around smoked Idiazabal cheese, Idaizabal cheese is sharp, pungent, very well defined, slightly piquant, with a mild and brilliant smoked flavour. Idiazabal, a town in which sheepherding has been an economic and social mainstay for centuries, is an exceptional place for cheese making. Sheepherders still do credit to their craft by making Idiazabal cheese with pure, raw Latxa sheep milk, which is coagulated and pressed into rounds. The Denomination of Origin for Idiazábal Cheese was created in 1987 and defines the basic regulations for the manufacture of the product. Only unpasteurized milk from latxa breed of sheep can be used. The minimum ageing period is two months. The more aged cheeses take on a unique, somewhat acidic flavour and a delicious aroma.
I served the cheese with a simple salad of lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes which I complimented with some lovely small beans called habitas fritas.
Gorgeous olive oil with fruity flavour and rich yellow colour brought all the ingredients together.
All in all a perfect summer meal and certainly very delicioso indeed