No Knead Cucumber Bread

Cucumber Bread

Wotchers!

OK, so I might have taken a bit of a liberty with the title of this post, but I can honestly say that I didn’t knead this loaf.

My stand mixer with it’s dough hook on the other hand…..

Owning a mixer isn’t a prerequisite, however, because this is a very moist dough – and it gets moister over time – so it’s more of a stirred dough at best.

This loaf is a proper, yeast-raised savoury bread – not a sweet vegetable cake wearing a loaf shape as a disguise. It is delicately flavoured with fresh dill, which compliments the taste of the cucumber deliciously. It has a fabulous open, soft texture inside and a crunchy crust that stays crunchy, even the day after baking.

It struck me that this loaf is also the perfect solution to the old cucumber sandwich sogginess problem: cucumber in the bread, cream cheese between the bread – tadaah!

No Knead Cucumber Bread

1 large cucumber
1 tsp salt
500g strong bread flour
1 sachet fast-action yeast
1tsp sugar
2-3tbs chopped fresh dill

water for mixing

  • Shred the cucumber into matchsticks using a mandolin. Alternately, use a coarse grater.
  • Put the cucumber bits into a sieve over a bowl and sprinkle with ½ tsp salt.
  • Stir it about, then sprinkle the remaining salt and leave to drain for 30 minutes.
  • Put the remaining ingredients in a bowl and stir.
  • Tip the drained cucumber into the bowl, followed by the liquid that has drained out of it. This isn’t as crazy as it sounds. You need to add liquid to bring this all together as a dough, but – unless you’ve got waaaaaaaaaaay too much time on your hands, you probably don’t want to wait around until it slowly leeches out of the cucumber. It’s going to leech out a bit more anyways, but you need to bring it together into a soft dough first.
  • Stir the mixture, or use a stand mixer and dough hook, and add in water as required, until there is no dry flour visible. You can also get in there with your hands, which might be the best way to judge the moisture needs of the dough. As a rough guide, and depending on the moisture content of the cucumber, it should take anything between 100-200ml more liquid. If you’ve made the Grant Loaf, the texture will be similar – not liquid, but too wet to knead. NB Don’t add too much liquid (obvs.). Add just a little at a time and make sure it’s very well mixed in before adding any more. Too much moisture will make for an open-textured but damp finished loaf.
  • Cover the bowl with cling film and leave until doubled in size. Depending on the room temperature, this could take anything between 1 and 2 hours.
  • What you’ll find,when you come back to your bowl, is that yes, it has risen, but also it has become much more liquid.
  • Grease a large loaf tin. The one in the pictures below is 24cmx14cmx7.5cm.
  • Pour – for there is no other word more suitable – the dough batter into the prepared loaf tin. It will come to within 3-4cm of the top of the tin (see left-hand pic below)
  • Set aside to rise while the oven heats up.
  • Heat the oven to 200°C, 180°C Fan.
  • It will take about 30-45 minutes for the dough to rise to the top of the tin – see right-hand pic above.
  • When the dough has risen, carefully transfer the tin to the oven. Don’t knock the tin, or you run the risk of deflating the dough.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, then turn the tin around 180° and bake for a further 20 minutes.
  • Remove the loaf from the tin and bake for a final 10 minutes, for a total cooking time of 1 hour.
  • Cool on a wire rack.
  • Wait until this loaf is completely cold -preferably the next day – before slicing.

Variations:

Flour: The more observant of you will have noticed some discrepancies amongst the photographs. This is down to different flours used to bake each loaf.

The loaf at the top of the page is made with white flour, the photo of unrisen dough is of a loaf made with brown bread flour, and the photo of the risen dough is of the loaf made with stone-ground wholemeal bread flour.

Brown Wholemeal Cucumber Bread

You can see the difference in the texture of the brown loaves in this photo: wholemeal (top) and brown (bottom). To begin with, I recommend making this recipe with white flour first, and then exploring other flours if so inclined when you’re happy judging the amount of liquid to add.

Cheese Another variation to include with the dough, thereby turning it into a picnic loaf which needs only the addition of  butter at most, to make for a deliciously portable snack. Cut 100g-150g of your favourite cheese (I suggest strong Cheddar, aged Red Leicester, Feta or Goats cheese) into 1cm cubes  and add to the dough after the first rise.



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