Tuesday Tutor with Alexandra's Kitchen

No Knead Peasant Bread, Profile
No Knead Peasant Bread

Each Tuesday I ask a friend to be my tutor for a day. I select one of their original recipes, I follow my friend's recipe instructions, I snap a multitude of pictures, I sample the results - and then I share everything I love about my friend's recipe. Learn More

I can't even tell you how I first discovered Ali's gorgeous food blog - it seems I have been following her creations since I first started blogging full time. Although I probably found Ali via another food blog in my hunt for fetish worthy food. But one casual perusal of her blog and I was hooked. Ensnared. Captivated. The photos are gorgeous, the food is utterly comforting and everything is from scratch. And we all know how passionate I am about from scratch.

I've been sharing photos from Alexandra's Kitchen for months in the Food Fetish Friday series. In fact, since I first found Ali's blog, there's rarely a week her food hasn't appeared in the series. Which will be no surprise to Ali's loyal readers. If you love food (or just love pretty photos of food), get to know Ali and her amazing blog.

So I'm very honored to have Ali as my tutor today. So please give Ali a big welcome - Welcome Ali! And thank you so much for being my tutor!

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Alexandra Stafford is the author of alexandra's kitchen, a place for mostly simple, sometimes fussy, but always seasonal recipes. When Alexandra isn't cooking or chasing after her children, she is designing cards for her small stationery shop, the print shop.

Featured Recipe: No Knead Peasant Bread

More About Today's Tutor
  1. I love my little family: my husband, Ben, and my children, Ella (3), Graham (1 1/2), and Baby (arriving shortly). I hope food will be as an important part of my children's lives as it has for Ben and me.
  2. As many of my blog readers know, I try to support the local food movement as much as I can by belonging to a CSA and buying local humanely raised meat (via a "cow pool" and sustainable seafood as well as Fair Trade products when available.
  3. I still dream of one day running a little bakery and café, open from 6 am till 3 pm, serving all of my favorite foods, from biscotti and granola to lentil soup and watermelon gazpacho to wood-fired pizzas and grilled cheeses to kale caesar salads and fresh favas with pecorino to rosemary shortbread and rhubarb buckle.
  4. I also dream of running a small farm or at the very least raising a few animals. And I wish had a greener thumb.
  5. I also dream of producing something — granola or some sort of goat cheese or biscotti — that I could sell at a farmers' market or on some larger level.

How to Make: No Knead Peasant Bread
For a printable recipe and complete list of ingredients and steps, see the original recipe

2 Cups Warm Water
Heat 2 cups of water to approximately 110F (I use the microwave at 50% power for 2 minutes).

1 Tablespoon in Large Bowl
While the water heats, add 1 Tablespoon of granulated sugar to a large bowl.

Active Dry Yeast Sprinkled Over Warm Water
Add the warm water to the sugar and dissolve; sprinkle 2 teaspoons of active dry yeast over the water.

Yeast Blooming in Water
Let the yeast and water rest for 10 minutes to give the yeast a chance to bloom (as shown).

Stiring Yeast with Wooden Spoon
Mix the bloomed yeast and water together with a spoon.

Scant Cup of Measured Flour
While the yeast is blooming, you can prepare your flour and salt. Measure 4 scant cups of flour. I lighten the flour with my measuring up, then level and remove some of the flour from the cup with a swipe of my finger.

Flour and Salt in Sifter
Add the flour and 2 teaspoons of kosher salt to a sifter.

Flour Sifted into Water/Yeast
Sift the flour into the yeast/water mixture.

Dough Mixed with Wooden Spoon
Mix and moisten everything with the wooden spoon until the dough pulls together. The dough will be VERY sticky.

Dough Covered with Plastic Wrap and Towel
Cover the bowl with oiled plastic wrap and a towel and let the dough rise until doubled (at least an hour but up to two hours).

1 Quart Pyrex Bowls
While the dough proofs, you can prepare your baking bowls. Ali recommends and I used two Pyrex 332 1 quart bowls. You could also use large 1 to 1.5 quart ramekins or other oven-safe small bowls.

1 Tablespoon of Butter for each Bowl
Butter both bowls with 1 Tablespoon of softened unsalted butter.

Buttered Pyrex Bowl
Butter the bowls well - this will prevent the final bread from sticking to the bowl and add extra flavor to the final loaf.

Dough After First Bulk Rise
The dough after rising for 1 hour.

Deflating Dough with Forks
Deflate the doubled dough with two forks, scraping the dough away from the sides and bottom of the bowl and folding the dough over on itself as you work around the bowl. This will take about 3 minutes.

Splitting Dough with Forks
After deflating the dough, split the dough in half by pulling apart with the two forks. The dough will immediately run back together and that's ok. Just split down the center as best you can.

Divided Dough Transferred to Pyrex Bowls
Transfer each half of the dough to the buttered bowls (I used a large wooden spoon to help me).

Final Rise After 30 Minutes
Let the bowls of dough rise in a warm place for at least 30 minutes until the dough has reached the top of the bowl. Here's how my dough looked after 30 minutes. Not quite there yet.

Final Rise After 1 Hour
Preheat the oven to 425F. After an hour, my bowls were ready to bake.

Baked Peasant Bread, Before Turning Out
Bake the bread for 10 minutes at 425F, then reduce the oven temperature to 375F and bake another 25 minutes until golden brown. The "loaves" will also be pulling away from the sides of the bowls when fully baked.

No Knead Peasant Bread
Turn out the loaves onto a wire cooling rack and let cool 10 minutes before cutting.

No Knead Peasant Bread, Profile
Restrain yourself. Or you WILL eat the whole thing!

Thoughts while scarfing...
  • If you ever, EVER doubted you could make bread (or even bake), you simply must try this recipe. Sabrina, I'm looking at you. Try it. Just TRY IT! It's so easy to make and there's nothing fancy to learn or even know about bread or baking or yeast or gluten. Just dump, mix, let rise and bake.
  • This bread is so deliciously moist and ever so slightly chewy. With a lovely, buttery crust that encourages you to eat just one more slice. To tear off just one more piece. This is NOT a classic sandwich bread or a fancy artisan bread - and that's just fine with me.
  • Ali mentioned to me before I made this bread that some of her readers had a little trouble with the second rise - it could take up to two hours (rather than 30 minutes) for the final "loaves" to reach the top of the bowls. My loaves took an hour to complete their second rise. I suspect this is due to the temperature of my kitchen (relatively cool at 70F). The next time I make this bread, I'll try a warmer environment and see what happens.
  • Don't be afraid of baking in bowls. As long as they're oven safe (like old or new Pyrex), you're in good shape. However, after turning out your loaves of bread, let the bowls cool completely before rinsing or submerging in water or the bowls may explode...


    1. Kayle (The Cooking Actress)April 30, 2013 at 9:53 AM

      Ooooh this bread looks GORGEOUS and Ali sounds amazing!

    2. What a clever idea. The bread looks fantastic and so do the other recipes. Great to be introduced...

    3. mjskit @mjskitchen.comApril 30, 2013 at 11:09 PM

      This is a keeper! 2012 was my year to get back into breadmaking and now I can't stop. I will definitely have to try this recipe! Nice meeting Alexandra!

    4. The bread is delicious, Kayle, especially hot out of the oven! So glad you enjoyed the interview with Ali and she's a fabulous blogger...

    5. I'm so glad you enjoyed, Anneli - I think just about every recipe Ali makes looks amazing and I'm so glad to have been able to feature her...

    6. I agree, MJ - it really is a keeper! I'll be baking this bread next time I have guests over... And I'm so glad to hear you're back bread making...

    7. What a great post! Bread baking is so much fun - we've been making our own for months now. This looks wonderful! Super recipe, super blogger, super tutorial - thanks so much.

    8. This is just such a great post, detailed, concise and the finished result looks bloomin amazing!



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