Thursday, August 23, 2007

Cheesy Lasagna and No Knead Bread

Late last night while I was browsing the "internets" I came across this recipe for No Knead Bread. I then came across blog after blog of happy recipe testers. I had to try it, of course. So, at 11:30 pm I snuck into the kitchen and quickly stirred together the flour, water, salt and yeast. That way when the first 12-18 hour rising time was up I would have nice crusty bread just in time for dinner.

This recipe was so simple. It is a very loose dough. It stirred very easily with a spoon and then it just sat there. When the twelve hours were up I folded it twice and then it sat for another 2 hours. After that was baking. That's it. I didn't have any of the recommended pots in the sizes needed so I split my dough into two and baked in two smaller pyrex dishes.

The crust on this was crispy with a great crumb. It wasn't overly chewy and didn't kill my jaw. The interior was light and had a wonderful flavor. I followed the advice of many others and increased the recipes salt from 1 1/4 tsp. to 2 tsp. Following the same advice, I also lowered my water to 1 1/2 cups. I did not use instant yeast and had to covert that measurement. If you have instant yeast the recipe calls for 1/4 tsp. if you have any of the other more common yeasts then use 1/3 tsp.

This really was wonderful bread. I'm going to try and find a better baking vessel so that I can make a full size loaf.

No-Knead Bread

Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. 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. 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 and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

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. When dough is ready, carefully remove 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 O.K. 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 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yields one 1 1/2 pound loaf.

Next in line for the oven was the Cheesy Lasagna. At vegweb this recipe has a queue of amazing reviews a mile long. I was so excited to try it.

This turned amazing! I couldn't believe the flavor. There was the texture and richness of ricotta and all the flavor. I was worried about the nutmeg but it only added to the end results. Everyone loved dinner. We ended up only eating a 1/3 of the pan. I cut another 1/3 into serving sizes and froze them. The last 1/3 will be tomorrow nights dinner.

To start, I used a pound of lasagna noodles and a 9x13 inch pan to fit them in. I ended up using 2 jars of spaghetti sauce and no tomato sauce. I doubled the garlic, tofu, cream cheese and nutritional yeast. I didn't use very much spinach because I couldn't fit it in my pan. Next time I will double the carrots and make room for more spinach. I love seeing the kids gobble up their vegetables and this recipe disguises them very well. The parsley was a nice touch. It would be a very easy thing to leave out but it gave the final product a little bit extra boost.

I'm very impressed with this recipe. It would be perfect to serve to non-vegans. It would be great for potlucks. With my fingers crossed, I'm hoping it will be great frozen and reheated.

Recipe submitted by

Cheesy Lasagna

Ingredients (use vegan versions):
2-3 jars of favorite spaghetti sauce
1-16 oz bag of spinach leaves
2-3 jars of tomato sauce
1/2 lb. carrots
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup canned low-sodium veggie broth
1 lb. herbed tofu
8 oz. vegan cream cheese
2 Tblspns. lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
12 lasagna noodles, cooked
1/4 cup nutritional yeast, optional

Directions:Slice carrots and steam, set aside. Add olive oil to a large skillet, place over medium-high heat until hot. Add parsley and garlic, saute for 1 minute.. Add carrots and veggie broth; simmer uncovered for 5 min. Add herbed tofu, vegan cream cheese, and lemon juice; stir well. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until fake cheesy stuff starts to melt.Stir in nutmeg (possibly you could add some about 1/4 C. nutritional yeast at this step, just to make it a little bit more cheesy!). Remove from heat; keep warm.

Place 3 lasagna noodles in bottom of 11x7 baking dish. spread carrot mixture over top, place 3 noodles on top of that and spread tomato sauce and spinach on top of those, repeat process until all noodles are used up... top with spaghetti sauce. Cover and bake 15 min. at 375 degrees. Uncover and bake an additional 20-30 min. until it is thoroughly heated... use your own judgment. Usually a lasagna takes about 45 minutes to cook thoroughly. this is the best lasagna i have ever made or had, or non-vegan... it is superb... your non-vegan friends will be wowed!!!!!!!

Serves a lot.

1 comment:

veganmomma said...

Weird, I made lasagna today too, it took me awhile to decide on it with the heat, but it wasn't as hot today so I bit the bullet. I always love lasagna and this one looks great!