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  1. #1 No-Knead Crusty Bread (Plus, How to Make Your Own Butter)With lots Lots of pictures 
    An Adversary of Linda #'s
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    Aug 2005
    No-Knead Crusty Bread (Plus, How to Make Your Own Butter)With Lots of pictures .

    About a year ago, a phenomenon swept through the food blog world: with a little planning and an enameled cast iron Dutch oven, the novice baker could make a nice crusty loaf without kneading the bread. Without shaping the loaf. Without doing much of anything, really. It was a supposedly foolproof bread recipe for the laziest of amateur bakers, and countless food blog posts confirmed the consistent success of this technique.

    I'm not really a joiner, and planning ahead is something I seem metaphysically incapable of. Therefore, I never got around to making this famous no-knead bread, which requires 18 hours of advance planning.

    However, last weekend we had some guests over with ostentatious plans to cook a whole ham. In this spirit of absurdity, it somehow seemed appropriate to bake a loaf of bread—my first ever.

    And since a million people have written about the no-knead bread, I went a step further. Thanks to an anonymous comment on Nick's post about local butter, I was directed to a New York Times article that described the disarmingly easy process of creating one's own butter. Being peculiarly susceptible to any cooking experience like this--going back to the genesis of any thing's origin, exploring techniques lost to industrial food production or modern convenience--it became clear: we would make our own bread and butter.

    The result was a house full of the smell of baking bread as our friends Tory and Matt arrived for the ham. Once Tory had unpacked a bag full of meats, cheeses, nuts, dried fruit and some kind of quince paste which tasted like thick fruit leather--but fancy--we announced the first order of the evening: making butter.

    They looked unsure but admirably hopeful: would we be eating anytime before midnight? I could understand their trepidation, their visions of a long night of churning during which we’d work for our food. But actually, butter doesn't take very long at all. In the very simple style that we made it, in fact, only about ten minutes.

    And the bread was good, far better than I imagined my first loaf of bread would be. It needs some tweaking—I think slightly longer in the oven, perhaps a bit more yeast for flavor. But there you have it. From a pile of flour, a packet of yeast, salt, and some cream, we ended up with a crusty loaf of bread and accompanying butter. And for a lot cheaper than you'd pay at a store. Details and recipes after the jump.

    The Bread

    3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus more for dusting
    ¼ teaspoon instant (rapid-rising) yeast
    1¼ teaspoons salt
    1 5/8 cups water
    First, you mix the dry ingredients which included rapid-rising yeast, the kind, I learned, that you can mix in with dry ingredients without the need to dissolve in warm water first.

    To that you add the water slowly, mix until just combined into a shaggy dough, then cover and leave in a warm-ish place for 12-18 hours. In this case, with the temperature just dropping and our heat not yet turned on, in the bathroom with a portable heater.

    We checked about 18 hours later and it had developed lots of bubbles on the top, which the recipe says will happen. Next, you flour it a bit and fold it over itself once or twice, then let it rest for an additional 15 minutes, loosely covered.

    Then, you take two kitchen towels that won't shed--avoid terry cloth--and flour them well. Take the dough and quickly shape it into a ball. Put the dough on one towel, cover loosely with the other, and return to the warm place to rise for two hours. It is supposed to double in size in that time. snip

    The Butter
    6 cups heavy cream, the nicest you can fine (organic, grass fed, etc.)
    Salt, if desired

    Leave the cream out on the counter for awhile until it's about halfway warmed up (the recipe says 50 degrees). Put it in a bowl (or into the bowl of a standup mixer) and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Mix at medium-high speed as if you were making whipped cream.

    Eventually, the color will become more yellow. If you whip a lot of cream, your instincts may kick in telling you to stop before it separates--but press on, because the point is to overwhip the cream. Eventually, the agitation breaks down some of the molecules and allows the fat molecules to bind to each other, or something like that. At some point, the consistency of what you're mixing will suddenly change. There will be little globules of yellow suspended in a whitish liquid. This is the beginnings of separation, the butter from the buttermilk. As Harold McGee quotes the poet Seamus Heaney, "Finally gold flecks / began to dance... a yellow curd was weighting the churned-up white, / heavy and rich, coagulated sunlight."

    Stop mixing a few seconds after this happens, then strain out as much of the buttermilk into a container as possible.

    Scoop up what's solid in your hands and rinse it off.

    Next comes the kneading. Dig your hands in--your impeccably clean hands, as Julia Child would say. Work out any pockets of butter milk, and drain out more liquid periodically.

    And eventually, you'll have butter.

    It can be salted if you wish, which may actually be a good idea in this case--butter made this way from pasteurized fresh cream is not the most complex-tasting concoction. It's sweet and creamy, but slightly flat. I've been reading extensively about making butter since, and apparently there are ways to introduce lactic acid bacteria (either artificially or by letting the cream sit for awhile at room temperature--how to do that safely?) into the cream, which results in a fuller taste. Does anyone have experience doing this? I'd like to experiment with my next batch.
    Last edited by megimoo; 11-09-2008 at 03:11 PM.
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  2. #2  
    I've made the fabled "no-knead" bread. It's hard to know what to say about it. You get a crusty "artisan" loaf but I think it has a lot more visual appeal than taste or utility. As with Microsoft products, the very hard crust, gaping interior holes, and disappointing crumb are considered 'features" rather than flaws. It's also a very bland bread and may not be worth eating at all for those who expect more flavor. The only thing to recommend it is the lack of effort.

    I've made butter from scratch but I've always used a table-top churn. This is probably only worth the effort if you have access to a lot of free milk. Buying cream to make butter is kind of wasteful. If you do have access to a lot of free milk, making cheese is a much better use for it. There are all kinds of cheeses that are difficult or impossible to buy where I live that can be successfully made at home.
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  3. #3  
    An Adversary of Linda #'s
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gingersnap View Post
    I've made the fabled "no-knead" bread. It's hard to know what to say about it. You get a crusty "artisan" loaf but I think it has a lot more visual appeal than taste or utility. As with Microsoft products, the very hard crust, gaping interior holes, and disappointing crumb are considered 'features" rather than flaws. It's also a very bland bread and may not be worth eating at all for those who expect more flavor. The only thing to recommend it is the lack of effort.

    I've made butter from scratch but I've always used a table-top churn. This is probably only worth the effort if you have access to a lot of free milk. Buying cream to make butter is kind of wasteful. If you do have access to a lot of free milk, making cheese is a much better use for it. There are all kinds of cheeses that are difficult or impossible to buy where I live that can be successfully made at home.
    I agree that cheese is more 'profitable' to make.I am interested in some of the great types of cheese that are made in the Italian alps.

    Itanian Cheeses

    List of Italian cheeses
    This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.
    This is a list of around 400 Italian cheeses. See List of Italian PDO cheeses for a list of those Italian cheeses which have Protected Designation of Origin under EU law, together with their areas of origin.

    Abbamare – Sardinia; a semi-soft cheese made from a mixture of cows’ and sheep’s milk.
    Accasciato - A (usually mixed)Sheep and Cows milk cheese from Tuscany
    Acceglio – from Piedmont; a fresh cows’ milk cheese made in the area of Acceglio (province of Cuneo).[2]
    Acidino (or Formaggio Acidino) – Veneto; a goats’ milk cheese[3]
    Agrì di Valtorta – Lombardy; made with fresh cows’ or goats’ milk in the Alta Valle Brembana (Province of Bergamo)
    Ainuzzi – Sicily; a cows’ milk cheese made in Cammarata and San Giovanni Gemini (Province of Agrigento).[5]
    Algunder Bauernkäse Halbfett (Italian formaggio contadino semigrasso di Lagundo) – from Burggrafenamt (Italian Burgraviato), South Tyrol.
    Algunder Butterkäse (Italian formaggio di Lagundo) – from Burggrafenamt (Italian Burgraviato), South Tyrol.[7]
    Algunder Ziegenkäse (Italian formaggio di capra di Lagundo) – South Tyrol; a goats’ milk cheese from Burggrafenamt (Italian Burgraviato)
    Almkäse – South Tyrol
    Amatriciano - Lazio around Amatrice and Leonessa
    Ambra di Talamello – Marche
    Animaletti di Provola – Calabria
    Aostano – Val d’Aosta; cows’ milk.
    Aostino – Val d’Aosta; cows’ milk.
    Aschbacher Magerkäse (Italian formaggio Aschbach magro) – South Tyrol, from Burggrafenamt (Italian Burgraviato),.
    Asiago DOP – Veneto, Trentino
    Asiago d'allevo (see Asiago)
    Asiago pressato (see Asiago)
    Asìno – Friuli Venezia Giulia; a curious cheese, although not made from ass’s milk
    Asiago d'Allevo is renowned as an extra strong cheese. Asiago d'Allevo: This was originally ewe's milk cheese made in the foothills of the Dolomites ,Asiago Pressato is similar to d'Allevo but is a milder cheese, ripened for twenty to forty days and used almost exclusively as a table cheese.

    BEL PAESE: This unpressed, cooked and ripened cheese was created by Egidio Galbani in 1906 and made at Melzo in Lombardy. It is one of the most popular cheeses of this century and is creamy white or pale yellow, soft, buttery and elastic, without holes but with a pleasant, tangy flavor.

    BURRINI: This is a specialty cheese from the very south of Italy, the regions of Puglia and Calabria in particular. Small, pear shaped cheeses of mild and distinctive flavor are carefully molded around a pat of sweet butter,

    CACETTI: These small cheeses are very similar to Burrini but without the heart of butter. They are spun curd cheeses, dipped in wax and hung by raffia strands to ripen for about ten days.

    CACIOCAVALLO: caciocavallo cheese [kah-choh-kuh-VAH-loh] From southern Italy, caciocavallo (meaning "cheese on horseback") is said to date back to the 14th century, and believed by some to have originally been made from mare's milk. Today's caciocavallo comes from cow's milk and has a mild, slightly salty flavor and firm, smooth texture when young (about 2 months). As it ages, the flavor becomes more pungent and the texture more granular, making it ideal for grating. Caciocavallo is one of the pasta filata types of cheeses (like PROVOLONE and MOZZARELLA),

    CRESCENZA: [krih-SHEHN-zuh] A rich, creamy, fresh cheese, also known as Crescenza Stracchino , that's widely made in Italy's regions of Lombardy, Piedmont and Veneto. Its texture and flavor are similiar to that of a mild CREAM CHEESE, and it becomes very soft and spreadable at room temperature. Crescenza is made from uncooked cow's milk and is sometimes blended with herbs. It doesn't age well and, although not widely imported, can be found in some specialty cheese shops.

    CURD: 1. When it coagulates, milk separates into a semisolid portion (curd) and a watery liquid (WHEY). CHEESE is made from the curd. 2. A creamy mixture made from juice (usually lemon, lime or orange), sugar, butter and egg yolks. The ingredients are cooked cool, the lemon (or lime or orange) curd becomes thick enough to spread and is used as a topping for breads and other baked goods. Various flavors of curd are available commercially in gourmet markets and some supermarkets.

    DOLCELATTE: This is a smooth, creamy blue cheese, milder than gorgonzola, and a registered trade name meaning "sweet milk". It is a semi-soft cheese with 50% fat in dry matter, made from cows milk and matured for about forty days

    FONTINA: A very poular Italian cheese, genuine fontina comes from the Valle d'Aosta in the most north west corner of Italy and plays an important part in the cuisine of that area. It is made from the full cream milk of once milked cows with acidity produced by natural fermentation. The cheese is medium hard although its flesh is soft and melts easily. It is straw colored with a mild delicate flavor. It is rippened for about three months and each cheese is marked with a picture of the Matterhorn (which majestically marks the borders of Italy and switzerland). Fontina has a 45% fat/dry matter content and 347 calories per 4 oz. serving.

    GORGONZOLA: This is another exceptional product from the Po valley and is said to be even older than Grana cheese. It is named after the town where it is believed to have originated but is no longer made, not far from Milan. It is produced now at both local and mass production level in provinces of Bergamo, Brescia, Como, Cremona, Cuneo, Milan, Novara, Pavia, Vercelli and the area of Casale Monferrato. A protected cheese, it is produced all the year round and is Italy's major blue veined variety. It has a strong flavor from it's compact, creamy texture and is white or straw colored with green flecks and veins. Gorgonzola is a soft, high fat, unboiled cheese produced from cows milk. 48% fat/dry matter content.

    GRANA: Two of Italies most widely acclaimed cheeses, Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano, belong to the Grana (granular) group of cheeses, those finely-grained hard cheeses which originated in the Po Valley to the north of the country. These areas argued for centuries about who should carry the name "Grana", and in 1955 the names "Grana Padano" and "Parmigiano Reggiano" were given legal protection and the characteristics and areas of production of each were precisely delineated. They are basically very similar cheeses although of the two, Grana Padano matures marginally faster.
    Last edited by megimoo; 11-16-2008 at 04:38 PM.
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  4. #4  
    An Adversary of Linda #'s
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    GRUVIERA: Gruviera cheese; Groviera [groo-vee-YEHR-uh] This Italian version of the Swiss GRUYERE has a sweet, nutlike flavor that is very like the original. It can be used in any manner suitable for Gruyere.

    PARMIGIANO REGGIANO: this undisputed king of Italian cheese is believed to have originated in the provence of Reggio Emilia south of the Po Valley. The area was formerly under the rule of the Dukedom of Parma which was the main trading center, hense it's name. It was called the great cheese of seven countries because the ancient formula remained unchanged throughout 700 years of history in which the area was under the rule of seven different countries. Records dating back to AD 1200-1300 describe the characteristics of Parmigiano Reggiano as they are today and it is assumed that the real origins of the cheese go back even further to the fine cheeses extolled by early Latin writers. It is produced from the first of April to the eleventh of November in large drums anywhere from 50-100 lbs. It is made with the unpasteurized but tested milk of morning and evening milkings in it's "zona tipica" of Bologna, Mantua, Modena, Parma and Reggio Emilia where the soil, climate, vegetation, fodder and cattle rearing traditions have influenced its flavor and quality over the centuries

    GRANA PADANO: is very similar to Parmigiano Reggiano but ripens more quickly and is left to mature for a year or two, being sold at varying degrees of maturity. Its history is as old as Parmesan and it also is a pressed, cooked cheese from the partly skimmed milk of two milkings. Unlike Parmesan, Grana Padano is made throughout the year in the following regions: Cremona, Mantua (on the opposite bank of the Po to Parmesan production), Piacenza, Brescia, Bergamo, Pavia, Alessandria, Asti, Cuneo, Novara, Turin, Vercelli, Como, Milan, Sondrio, Varese, Trento, Padua, Rovigo, Treviso, Venice, Verona, Bologna (on the opposite bank of the river Reno to Parmesan production), Ferrara, Forli and Ravenna.

    MASCARPONE: a cows milk cheese that must be eaten very fresh, mascarpone is a delicious creamy dessert cheese, a bit like whipped butter of stiffly whipped cream. It is often sweetened slightly and served with fresh fruit and liquers. Originally made only in Lombardy in the autumn and winter but now available all the year round and is usually sold in muslin bags or tubs.

    MOZZARELLA: mozzarella cheese [maht-suh-REHL-lah; moht-suh-REHL-lah] Hailing from Italy, mozzarella is a mild, white fresh cheese that's made by the special PASTA FILATA process, whereby the CURD is dipped into hot WHEY, then stretched and kneaded to the desired consistency. At one time, mozzarella was made only from the milk of water buffaloes. Today, however, the majority of it is made with cow's milk. Mozzarella comes in two basic styles. Most regular mozzarella, which can be found in lowfat and nonfat forms in supermarkets, is factory produced. It has a semisoft, elastic texture and is drier and not as delicately flavored as its fresher counterpart. This style of mozzarella is best used for cooking and is popular for pizza because of its excellent melting qualities. Fresh mozzarella, which is usually packaged in whey or water, is often labeled "Italian style." It's generally made from whole milk and has a much softer texture and a sweet, delicate flavor. Mozzarella di bufala (also called simply buffalo mozzarella) is the most prized of the fresh mozzarellas. Most buffalo mozzarella available in the United States is made from a combination of water buffalo milk and cow's milk. Two popular forms of fresh mozzarella are boconccini, which are little (about 1 inch in diameter) balls that are commonly marinated in olive oil and sometimes herbs, and a smoked version called mozzarella affumicata . There's also the unique manteca , in which the mozzarella is molded around a lump of butter. Fresh mozzarella can be found in Italian markets, cheese shops and some supermarkets. It's excellent simply spread on bread with salt, pepper and a little olive oil.

    PECORINO ROMANO: pecorino cheese [peh-kuh-REE-noh] In Italy, cheese made from sheep's milk is known as pecorino . Most of these cheeses are aged and classified as GRANA (hard,granular and sharply flavored); however, the young, unaged Ricotta pecorino is soft, white and mild in flavor. Aged pecorinos range in color from white to pale yellow and have a sharp, pungent flavor. The best known of this genre is Pecorino Romano, which comes inlarge cylinders with a hard yellow rind and yellowish-white interior. Other notable pecorinos are Sardo, Siciliano and Toscano. These hard, dry cheeses are good for grating and are used mainly in cooking. They can be used in any recipe that calls for PARMESAN CHEESE, especially if a sharper flavor is desired.

    PROVOLONE: provolone cheese [proh-voh-LOH-nee] This southern Italian cow's milk-cheese has a firm texture and a mild, smoky flavor. It has a golden-brown rind and comes in various forms, though the squat pear shape is most recognizable. Most provolone is aged for 2 to 3 months and has a pale-yellow color. However, some are aged 6 months to a year or more. As the cheese ripens, the color becomes a richer yellow and the flavor more pronounced. It is an excellent cooking cheese and aged provolones can be used for grating. Provolone is packaged in various sizes from little pear-shaped packages to giant sausage-shaped 200-pounders. Provolone is also now manufactured in the United States.

    RICOTTA: ricotta cheese [rih-KAHT-tuh] This rich fresh cheese is slightly grainy but smoother than cottage cheese. It's white, moist and has a slightly sweet flavor. Most Italian ricottas are made from the WHEY drained off while making cheeses such as MOZZARELLA and PROVOLONE. Technically, this type of ricotta is not really cheese because it's made from a cheese by-product. In the United States, ricottas are usually made with a combination of whey and whole or skim milk. The word ricotta means "recooked," and is derived from the fact that the cheese is made by heating the whey from another cooked cheese. Ricotta is a popular ingredient in many Italian savory preparations like LASAGNA and MANICOTTI, as well as desserts like CASSATA and CHEESECAKE.

    STRACCHINO: [straht-CHEE-noh] A fresh, cow's-milk cheese from Italy's Lombardy region. Stracchino contains about 50 percent milk fat. Its flavor is mild and delicate - similar to but slightly more acidic than CREAM CHEESE. Stracchino Crescenza has a somewhat higher milk fat content, which results in a slightly creamier texture.

    TALEGGIO: Taleggio cheese [tahl-EH-zhee-oh] Hailing from Italy's Lombardy region, this rich (48 percent fat), semisoft cheese is made from whole cow's milk. Its flavor can range from mild to pungent, depending on its age. When young, Taleggio's color is pale yellow and its texture semisoft. As it ages it darkens to deep yellow and becomes rather runny. Taleggio is sold in flat blocks or cylinders and is covered either with a wax coating or a thin mold. It's excellent with salad greens or served with fruit for dessert.

    WHEY: whey [HWAY; WAY] The watery liquid that separates from the solids (CURDS) in cheesemaking. Whey is sometimes further processed into whey cheese (see CHEESE). It can be separated another step, with butter being made from the fattier share. Whey is also used in processed foods such as crackers. Primarily, however, whey is more often used as livestock feed than it is in the human diet.
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  5. #5  
    Moderator lurkalot's Avatar
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    Isolated Mountain Range in Eastern Nevada
    the bread sounds good..I was almost tempted..then remembered..bread machine.. :)
    I smile because I don't know what the heck is going on.
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