The NY Times No-Knead Bread

and some mixed feelings

I have been so busy doing fun things this past week. I have wanted to share those things with you, but I want to talk about something more serious first. I’m on the subway as I write this, rushing home to try to squeeze in a quick 30 minutes of yoga before I go out and meet a friend for dinner. I was going to write this later, but figured it was better to write it quickly on my phone, balancing as best as I can without holding onto the pole so I can furiously tap away. Just now, I was speed walking through Union Square, flying down the subway station steps, trying to get to the platform as fast as possible, when I was stopped. The person who stopped me was a guy about my own age, with reddish hair and yellow sunglasses. He tapped my shoulder. Normally I’d ignore this entirely, but he quickly moved around the left side of me to stand in my way. Okay, maybe I dropped something? Maybe I knew this person and he wanted to say hi? I stopped walking and pulled out one of my earbuds. I looked at him, thinking I’d see someone familiar, but I didn’t recognize this person. When he finally spoke, it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. “I saw you walking to the subway,” he said. “And I thought you were so beautiful that I had to stop you and tell you. Can I…” And I didn’t even let him finish. My immediate reaction to something like this is to flee. My other immediate reaction is to be as nice as possible, because this guy may very well be completely unhinged. You never know.

I cut him off, thanked him, told him that I had to get going, and raced through the subway turnstiles and down onto my platform. Then I started thinking. Was that incredibly mean? Should I have just let him finish speaking? Maybe he was just trying to be nice, trying to brighten someone’s day (albeit in the creepiest way possible). Maybe he was trying to sell me something. Maybe I’m completely overreacting? Maybe this, maybe that, maybe maybe. I don’t know. All I could think about, and all I can still thinking about, is that horrific shooting that happened in California. How that guy blamed what he had done on the women who didn’t accept his advances. I’m not so in love with myself that I think that this particular person is going to run off and cause some similar tragedy because I didn’t let him say his piece on the subway, but it was still on my mind. And then, all I could think about is the fact that I’m even thinking about this at all. It’s bullshit, to be quite honest. Someone approached me on the subway, completely unsolicited, made me feel very uncomfortable, and now I’m standing underground, thinking about how I upset him? What the hell is that? Where does that guilt come from?

The NY Times No Knead Bread

When someone catcalls you on the street, you at least feel completely justified in yelling at them, giving them the finger or ignoring them altogether. This is a little different, though, and it clearly shook me a little, mostly because I was surprised at how I couldn’t get this less-than-a-minute run-in out of my head. How am I supposed to behave in this kind of situation? I hate myself for spending half of my evening running through the things I could have done, or why I should feel one way or another. I shouldn’t feel bad for not wanting to talk to a strange man on the subway. I shouldn’t feel like it’s my responsibility to coddle this person and hear them out just because I’m afraid of making them feel scorned. I should be able to do whatever I want to do. I hate that I thanked him for his unsolicited speech and told him to have a nice day. I wish I would have been able to articulate that this kind of approach is scary and women navigate situations like this, and much, MUCH worse, all day every day, so get the hell away from me. I don’t know what that guy was thinking as I swiped my Metrocard and left, and I will never know. There’s no moral here; nothing that I learned as a result of this situation. This is the way the world is, and I can only imagine people reading this and thinking that I’m some privileged baby for whining about what was, at the end of the day, a pretty benign thing. But it’s not about the fact that this wasn’t a “big deal” where nothing dangerous really happened. It’s about how I’m still sitting here, worrying about how I’m supposed to act when in reality, this guy should have been thinking about how HE was supposed to act. That’s what pisses me off the most.

The NY Times No Knead Bread

Anyway, I wanted to share this bread recipe because it’s the only thing I could think to share along with this story. I wanted to share something wholesome and comforting, something to take your mind off the novel I just spat out at you. Making bread is a stress reliever – I probably should have thrown together a loaf last night. This bread in particular can help calm your nerves because it’s of the no knead variety. That’s right – there is truly no kneading involved at all. I’ve seen this recipe over and over again on various blogs and websites, but I really do enjoy kneading bread every now and then, but this bread was made for a party in which I had already committed myself to making a few other things, so I ~needed~ to make something simple. Why not give this tried and true variety a try? I was pleased with the results. The bread was nice and holey (maybe even a little bit holy), but still firm enough to sop up leftover sauces and broths from a bowl of whatever delicious meal you’ve just eaten. I used all-purpose flour here, and while it worked well, I’ve been told that bread flour is even better, so next time I’ll be giving that one a go. If you’re afraid of yeast, this is a great beginner recipe to show you that it can, indeed, be tamed. Throw the dough for this bread together on a Friday night after you come home from a night out (yes, I did just that), then get it baking while you have your coffee in the morning. Slather a slice with some honey and jam and tell me that you don’t love baking bread, too.


The NY Times No Knead BreadMix together your shaggy dough, cover and let it sit overnight.

The NY Times No Knead BreadThen it will get nice and holey – see? Shape it, let it rest, and bake in a hot Dutch oven.

The NY Times No Knead BreadI made two loaves – this is one of them after baking with the cover on.

The NY Times No Knead BreadThe second loaf was a bit more rounded – such is life. Bake for an additional 30 minutes or so, until browned.

The NY Times No Knead BreadAllow to cool completely before slicing. This bread will keep well at room temperature, covered, for up to 3 days.

The NY Times No Knead Bread

The NY Times No Knead Bread
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1½ lb. loaf
 
The famous NY Times no-knead bread from Sullivan Street Bakery.
Ingredients
  • 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting*
  • ¼ teaspoon instant yeast (I used active dry yeast - worked fine for me)
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1½ cups warm water (115 degrees F)
  • Additional flour, cornmeal or wheat bran as needed (for dusting/decoration)
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1½ cups water and stir until blended. The dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature (if it's cooler in your apartment, you can place the bowl in an OFF oven).
  2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles - I left mine for about 15 hours. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. The dough will be incredibly loose and wet - just go with it! It may feel like you are just pouring liquid out of a bowl and it will feel weird - this is okay. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
  3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size but will NOT readily spring back when poked with a finger, unlike most breads.
  4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats - I used a Dutch oven. When the dough is ready, carefully remove the pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is fine! Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 30 minutes or so, until the loaf is browned and golden. Cool on a rack and slice only when cooled.
  5. *I used all-purpose flour this time around, but I've spoken to a few friends who have also tried this recipe and the consensus seems to be that while AP works just fine, bread flour will make a better loaf. I'll try it next time and report back!
Adapted From

 

13 Responses

  1. I am SO glad you shared that story. I completely understand how you feel – I tend to do the same thing to myself often. I don’t know where the guilt comes from or why I over-analyze things that I shouldn’t feel guilty about! It drives me crazy when I realize I am in the middle of worrying about what I could have done differently when the person in the wrong wasn’t even me. This bread would be exactly what I would need too after a story like that!! :)

  2. I had something similar happen to me once and I had the SAME reaction – I felt so bad afterwards. I’m not sure where the guilt comes from either, but it’s definitely not something we should feel guilty about!

  3. cyanharlow says:

    Normally I wouldn’t be so bothered by that kind of thing. Hell, these days I’m just relieved when people don’t shout insults at me. But it sounds like this guy could clearly see that you were in a hurry, and yet he STILL thought it would be appropriate to block your path to make you talk to him. That’s a bit entitled of him. Maybe not Elliot Rodger level, but still bothersome. That would really weird me out.

  4. Wesley says:

    I had the same thing happen to me just last weekend. And I felt the same too – I found myself worrying about how rude I’d been to him, when really he was the one who’d behaved badly by hitting on a stranger. While I was stuck on a street corner waiting for the light to change and couldn’t get away. It can completely ruin your day :( I went home and baked apple pie, but this is a good call too!

  5. I have literally had the exact same experience – and then sat around for ages going around in circles from now wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings to being angry that I should feel guilty when I did nothing to attract that attention. It’s a freaking minefield. The whole thing blows.

    But bread helps. Bread always helps.

  6. Nancy says:

    I hope you always trust your gut instincts. As Gavin de Becker said in “The Gift of Fear: “intuition is always right in at least two important ways;
    it is always in response to something and it always has your best interest at heart”

    I look forward to trying the bread!

  7. i m new to your site but absolutely love the way you write! looking forward to read more.

  8. lola says:

    Well said, Sydney, well said.

  9. Guilt is the worst feeling ever but we shouldn’t let it take over our lives in cases like these. The fact is, his come-on was unsolicited, you trusted your instincts, and went on about your business. You did nothing wrong.

    I am one of those people who’s afraid of yeast… but I’ll get to this recipe one of these days.

  10. JohninPalmSprings says:

    Here’s a related story but from a different prospective. I lived in Manhattan for the first 38 years of my life, was a professional, etc. One winter afternoon near Rock Center, a professional woman dropped a glove. I picked it up and tried to get her attention by calling “Miss, Miss” repeatedly. She ignored me until I shouted that she had dropped her glove. She stopped, I approached and handed her the glove which she grabbed out of my hand, spun around and marched off. Never a thank you, nothing but a sneer. Needless to say, I stopped trying to do others a kindness that day.

  11. I think it’s so important that you realized that it was the guy who should have been worrying about what you thought, not him. I don’t think you should feel responsible for his ego because you cut him off and took off. You were clearly in a hurry, and you were nice. That’s all you could have done.

    I go through these kinds of worries all the time, not that people ever stop me like that, but in terms of someone smiling at me and i don’t notice until after we pass each other and I’ve got perma-bitch-face going on. Does that person think I’m an awful person who refuses to smile at strangers? *sigh*

  12. tee says:

    this story was so real. so close to home. not the subway part, bc I live in LA, and I’m hardly ever in the subway…but bc you’re right in that men often do feel like it’s ok to make their opinions someone else’s business. most of the time, some random woman who never asked abt their opinions, couldn’t care less abt them, and don’t like feeling like they HAVE to care…otherwise, well, the guy may go psycho. a lot of times, men simply do not have social responsibility–but that doesn’t mean that we as women need to pick up their slack. i know the feeling of “ugh, I shouldn’t have been so polite”…bc really, he didn’t deserve it. but at the same time, who knows…maybe the next girl he makes uncomfortable will really lay it out on him. we can only hope.

    great bread recipe, btw! :) and thanks for sharing your very well-written story. if it means anything, i think a lot of your female readers here are a bit upset for you too. :) i know i am!

  13. […] of me feels like I shouldn’t re-hash this kind of thing all over again on my blog. I already explained my most recent uncomfortable interaction with the men of New York a few week ago, but lo and […]

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