October 1, 2008 3 Comments
I need to admit something right off: Procrastination and I have been having a torrid affair for years. It’s not something I’m particularly proud of and I usually try to hide it as best I can by pretending to be a serious worker bee. I’ve tried to call it off numerous times, but you know how these things go: you have the best of intentions, you’re even able to walk away for awhile, you distract yourself with other more suitable things. And just when you think you’ve gotten back some control and self-respect, you find yourself doing things you wouldn’t admit to your best friend.
I’d like to tell you that my affair only affects my work life, that for the things I love and care about–like cooking and baking–I’m totally on the ball, but I’d be lying. As I walk home in the evenings, I dream of the healthy, soul-satisfying, yummy goodness that I will whip up in my kitchen that night. I have it planned, I know exactly what is in my fridge and pantry and how long it will take before I am sitting at my table. And then I get home, and before I can even make it to the kitchen, I’m all, “Oooh! a Law & Order marathon on TNT!” and yeah… you know how this story ends.
It shouldn’t suprise you, then, that I’m about to tell you about a recipe that has been circulating on the internet for two years. No, really; it first appeared in the New York Times on November 8, 2006. Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Bread recipe is a dream come true for those of us under Procrastinator’s spell. It is so super easy that even if you get distracted by something else and remember right before bed that you promised a loaf for a gathering the next day you can just throw the three main ingredients–water, yeast and flour–into a bowl, cover it and let the dough sit overnight (not that this has ever happened to me. I’m just saying…). After a couple of brief rising times the next day, you pop it in the oven, set the timer and it’s ready to break open and be slathered in butter in 45 minutes. No stirring, no mixing, just let it work by itself. The secret is actually in the name: there’s no kneading, just a lot of resting of the dough. That resting period binds everything together to create the texture the bread will have once it’s baked. This is the same thing that would happen if you kneaded it by hand or with a mixer, but with a lot less effort–which will lead to a lot more time for other things–on your part.
The best part? You don’t need to admit that you waited until the last minute or got distracted by Law & Order while the dough did the hard work. It’s all about keeping up appearances….