No-Knead Rye Bread

no-knead rye bread - trustinkim

Yes, this crusty beauty was soooo delicious! It’s a slight variation on my usual recipe; I’m always trying to replicate my Oma’s Russian Black Bread, but I can never get it quite right. All the experimenting certainly is delicious, though!

So for this version I used part dark rye flour, and used a coating of oil on the outside of the bread for that really crusty finish – awesome results! The bread has just the right density, with a bit of chewiness to it, and the crust is pretty thick with a crisp outer layer. Excellent with or without butter! A little salted butter is magic, though!

If you’re not familiar with the no-knead concept, here’s the gist of it.

A) It’s delicious. Like the bread you pay $6 for at the Farmer’s Market. Or the stuff you eat when you’re on holiday in Europe, and you wonder: why eat any other kind of bread? I know, I wonder the same thing.

B) It’s really cheap

C) It’s so easy. Yes, you have to plan ahead by mixing the dough (2 minutes) then wait (12-18 hours), then wait (an hour or two), then bake (under an hour), then eat (worth it all!). So the actual hands-on time is minimal; you just have to be home to do a few of the steps.

D) It’s SOOOO delicious!

Here are a few ideas for bread toppings: creamy homemade hummus, tzatziki, grilled Japanese eggplant, sun-dried tomato and basil cream cheese spread, or sopping up the sauce in these delicious ouzo prawns. Please share your favourite bread toppings! I’d love to hear from you.

What you need:

  • 1 cup dark rye flour
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1 & 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 & 1/2 cups water (I use slightly warm water in winter)
  • canola oil for coating the bread

What you do:

  1. Combine the flours, salt and yeast in a bowl. Add the water and mix; add more water if needed until you have a wet, sticky dough.
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid (not airtight), and let sit for 12-18 hours in a warm-ish place, and out of direct sunlight. The dough should double in size and become dotted with bubbles. If your house is a little on the cool side you will likely need the longer rising time. I put mine on top of the freezer, which gives off a bit of heat.
  3. Cut a large piece of parchment paper and place it inside a large bowl, roughly forming it to the bottom of the bowl. Coat the top of the dough in oil using your hands, then turn it out into the parchment paper-lined bowl. Coat the new dough surface dough with oil. Cover loosely with a lid or with some plastic wrap, tucking it in loosely around the edges. Let the dough sit for 1-2 hours, until it has doubled in volume.
  4. About 1/2 hour before you want to put the bread in the oven, set the temperature to 475 F  and place your baking pot on a rack in the lower third of the oven. Let the pot heat up, and when the oven has reached 475 F, remove the pot from the oven. Remove the lid from the dough and pick up the dough by gathering together the corners of the parchment paper. Carefully (remember the pot is smoking hot!) place the dough in the parchment paper into the pot.
  5. Put the cover on the pot and bake for 30 minutes while the bread forms its nice thick crust. Remove the lid from the pot and continue to bake for 15-20 minutes more.  The bread should become a deep brown when it is done, and if you tap on it, it should sound hollow.  Remove the pot from the oven, lift the bread out of the pot, remove the parchment paper, and place it on a rack to cool. It needs to cool for about 1/2 an hour before slicing.
  6. This bread has no preservatives, so if you don’t use it up of the second day, it should be frozen.

Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Cream Cheese Spread

sun-dried tomato cream cheese spread - trust in kim

This cream cheese spread makes a great appetizer with a loaf of fresh bread or crackers. A friend of mine used to always buy this spread when we were having wine and appies, and another friend, Sarah, makes her own delicious version. This recipe is a combination of what I guessed to be the ingredients in the store-bought version, and some tips from Sarah.

The one difference with my recipe is that I made my own oven-dried cherry tomatoes. I make up a big batch, and they keep for a long time in the fridge.

Make this recipe at least an hour ahead of time so the flavours have a chance to mingle.

What you need:

  • 1 – 250 gram tub of spreadable cream cheese (or Tofutti non-dairy cream cheese)
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • a few sun-dried cherry tomatoes packed in  olive oil (or oven-roasted to make it even better)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • a few sprigs fresh basil, chopped
  • a little freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

What you do:

  1. Combine the mayonnaise and cream cheese.
  2. Chop and add the cherry tomatoes, minced garlic, basil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  3. Taste and adjust the amounts of anything you think you need more of.
  4. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
  5. Garnish with a sprig of basil, and serve with a loaf of freshly baked bread or crackers of your choice.

Mexican Chicken and Vegetable Soup

Mexican Soup - trust in kim

Last weekend I was planning to have friends over for dinner, and I wanted to make a pot of soup and a loaf of bread, so I made up my own version of a Mexican soup. It’s got some chicken, beans, and lots of vegetables including a few kinds of peppers.  I served it with Mexican farm cheese, some cilantro, and a squirt of lime on top.  Hot sauce optional.  I also made a vegetarian version.  This was a great recipe to make for a bunch of people, and it was enjoyed by both adults and children.

I roasted the peppers and tomatillos on my gas stove but you could do this on the barbecue, or under the broiler.

What you need:

  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 6 tomatillos
  • olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 serrano pepper, minced
  • 1 dried guajillo pepper
  • 2 cans pinto beans, drained
  • 1 can peaches and cream corn
  • 4 limes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cilantro
  • Mexican farm cheese

What you do:

  1. Roast the poblano and bell peppers over a flame, turning often, until the skin is blackened all over.  Put the peppers into a container with a lid on it, and let them sit for about 20 minutes.  Continue with the other preparations, then go back to the peppers and remove their skin and seeds.  It’s okay if there are pieces of blackened skin remaining; those flecks will add character to the soup.
  2. Remove the husks from the tomatillos and roast them until they are lightly blackened and only a little softened. Set them aside.
  3. In a large pot heat a little olive oil and add the diced onions.  Cook for a few minutes, until they are becoming translucent, then add the garlic and cook for about a minute, stirring a bit.
  4. Add the chicken thighs and cook for a few minutes on each side.
  5. Add the chicken stock, minced serrano, and the whole guajillo pepper.
  6. Let this cook for about 20 minutes, then add the drained pinto beans.  Chop the roasted peppers and tomatillos and add them to the pot.  Let this cook for about 20-30 minutes.
  7. Take the chicken out and cut it into large chunks, then pull it with a fork so you’ve got stringy bits of chicken instead of cubes.
  8. Add the corn before serving and heat through, along with the juice of two limes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Serve with some chopped cilantro on top, a sprinkling of the farm cheese.  Set out some hot sauce so people can add as much heat as they like.

roasting poblano peppers - trust in  kim


roasting tomatillos - trust in kim

Crusty Rye No-Knead Bread

no-knead rye bread - trust in kim

This beautiful bread has a great crunchy-chewy crust to it, and it is easy to make if you can plan ahead a bit.  The whole process takes about a day, but most of that time is spent just letting the dough rise all by itself, hence the name no-knead.  I’ve made a plain white version before, which was so delicious, but since I like a little more nutrition in my bread I decided to experiment by using part rye flour.  Success! I love that this bread bears some similarity to my Oma’s dark rye bread.

I served it with the butter, sliced meats, and a bowl of  borscht to make a somewhat traditional meal.  I was going for what we called ‘faspa,’ a low-German word  for a meal that always consisted of homemade buns, cheese, jam and cold cuts.

One thing you need for this bread is a container to bake it in, like the Romertopf roaster shown in the photo, or a le Creuset baker.  It must have a lid; baking with the lid on causes the crust to develop in the first half of the baking time.

What you need:

1 cup rye flour

2 cups white flour

1 & 1/4 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoons yeast (I used Fleischmann’s active dry yeast, which I store in my fridge)

1 & 1/2 cups water

1/4 cup wheat bran

What you do:

1. Combine the flours, salt and yeast in a bowl.  Add the water and mix; add more water until you have a wet, sticky dough.

2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a plate and let sit at room temperature, in a warm-ish place, and out of direct sunlight for 12-18 hours.  The dough should become about double in size and dotted with bubbles.   When I lived in a house that tended to be colder it always took the full 18 hours or even more. This slow fermentation is what gives the bread its flavour.

3. Lay a tea towel on your counter and sprinkle it with some wheat bran, then scrape the dough onto the towel. Tuck the edges of the dough under to make it round.  Sprinkle it with wheat bran, then lightly pull the edges of the towel over the dough. If your towel isn’t big enough just spread another towel over the top and tuck it in lightly. Let this sit for 1-2 hours, or until it has doubled in volume.

4. Set the oven to 475 F  and place your baking pot (I used a Romertopf baker, which I had to soak in water for at least 15 minutes before using) on a rack in the lower third of the oven. Let the pot heat up, and when the oven has reached 475 F, remove the pot from the oven and carefully tip the dough into the pot.  Put the cover on the pot and bake for 30 minutes while the bread forms its nice thick crust.

5. Remove the lid from the pot and continue to bake for 15-30 minutes.  The bread should be a deep brown when it is done.  Remove it from the oven, and lift the bread out of the pot carefully and place it on a rack to cool before slicing.