For people who love crusty bread!

I love blogs. Blogs are wonderful for escapism. You visit a cooking blog and it is like you are hanging out with a talented friend who shares a common interest with you. Lately, one of my favorite hangouts is Macheesmo. Nick posts something on his blog six days a week! If he doesn’t have a recipe to share, he is sharing a tip, doing a round up of his favorite blogs or reviewing a cookbook. He posts plenty of pictures and everything he makes looks delicious. Last week, Nick shared a discovery he made with his favorite no knead bread recipe. After reading his post, I couldn’t get this bread out of my head. The technique was pure genius. He took his regular no knead bread recipe and when it came time to shape the bread, he formed it into a rectangle instead of a loaf. Just before baking the bread, he scored the dough into rough squares so that the loaf resembles a rustic looking set of pull-apart rolls. The difference is that these rolls are not light, buttery and fluffy, they are serious bread. When you eat these, you have to use your teeth! That probably doesn’t sound good, but it is very good. These rolls are enveloped in crunchy chewy crust, but the crumb is still like a good piece of artisinal bread. So… if you are the kind of person who loves the crust on a homemade boule, but you crave more of it, this is your bread!

The dough was wonderful to work with. I used my starter instead of yeast.  I mixed the dough and let it sit on the counter for around nineteen hours. I formed the dough into a rectangle. The combination of using starter instead of yeast and a cold house made it so my dough had to proof longer than expected, about five hours instead of two. But look how nice and puffy it got.

I had only one problem with Nick’s recipe, he instructed to bake the bread for 35 minutes, mine was done somewhere between 20 and 25 minutes and it started to burn a little by the time I discovered my bread was done. But look how pretty it turned out!

When you pull a roll off of the loaf, you can see the gorgeous texture:

Cut one in half and it is full of holes

I am going to definitely add this recipe to my rotation of breads I bake on a regular basis. It was so easy and the results are so perfect. The flavor was rich and complex and there was a nice sour tanginess. My boyfriend declared “these rolls kick butt!” I think that translates into, “Thank you Nick for the marvelous dinner rolls”. 😀

I am sending these crusty rustic rolls to YeastSpotting. Please click on the link to see some other amazing homemade breads and sweets.

Sourdough rustic no knead rolls

2 cups unbleached white flour

2 cups stone ground whole wheat flour

1/3 cup active liquid sourdough starter

2 tsp kosher salt

2 ¼ cups lukewarm water

Cornmeal and extra flour for dusting

In a very large bowl, Mix together both kinds of flour, sourdough starter, salt and water. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand out on your kitchen counter for at least 12 hours, up to 19 hours.

Flour your work surface liberally. Turn the dough out onto the surface, form it into a rectangle and then fold it up like you are folding a letter. Repeat this process a couple of times being careful not to deflate the dough too much. Flatten the dough into a rough large rectangle a couple of inches thick. Transfer the dough to a peel that has been liberally dusted with cornmeal. Cover the dough with a clean dishtowel. Let proof up to five hours. The dough should be very puffy and if you poke it with your finger, the hole should spring back very slowly.

A half hour before you think you’ll be ready to bake, place a pizza stone in the oven. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees, F.

Right before you are ready to bake, score the bread four times lengthwise and four times crosswise to form sixteen square rolls. Be careful not to cut all the way through the rolls, they need to be attached. Place a pie pan full of water onto the lower rack of the oven and then transfer the dough to the heated pizza stone. Bake the bread for 20 – 25 minutes. The bread should be browned and sound hollow when tapped from the bottom. Cool the bread completely before serving.

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9 Comments

  1. Nick said,

    December 16, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    NICE WORK! I think you got a better crust and crumb on those guys than I did.

    Thanks for all the blog love. 🙂

  2. Natashya said,

    December 17, 2009 at 5:12 am

    They do look really crusty! I love them. 🙂 Go Nick!

  3. drfugawe said,

    December 17, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    That is a really nice idea! I probably make more rolls than loaves, so this is a perfect compromise – I’ll try it.

    How’s you Christmas baking coming?

    • Mimi said,

      December 17, 2009 at 11:26 pm

      I’m in a dangerous state of Christmas denial. So far the only thing I could muster up were the lemon bars.

      Things look pretty nice and festive out at the drfugawe homestead though!

  4. December 18, 2009 at 8:03 am

    […] Sourdough rustic no knead rolls […]

  5. Jeanne said,

    December 18, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    I love crusty rolls! These look really good. And I love that the recipe is so simple!

  6. pragmaticattic said,

    December 18, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    Great looking crust and crumb . . . These sound fabulous.

  7. Andreas said,

    December 19, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Gorgeous bread. Just the right thing to balance all those sweet Christmas cookies.

  8. Joanne said,

    December 19, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    These look great, kind of like a crusty focaccia!


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