Friday, 30 March 2012

No Mess, No Fuss, No Worktop, Tiny Kitchen, No Room to Knead, Bread-Making

Mrs Ribeye and I live in a tiny little flat with a miniscule kitchen. The reason we took this place was that it is located in the best part of central London, which means the best part of the world, and it has an enormous roof terrace (which we haven't yet used, naturally).

The only problem with our tiddly little kitchen is the lack of worktops, which means that I sometimes use the hob as workspace. This is OK for any jobs apart from bread-making, where you need a sanitary flat surface to knead dough.

Up to this point I have got around the 'no space to knead bread' problem, by making a Soda Bread instead - which requires no kneading. That is, up to this point. But I really fancied some traditional yeasty bread this weekend, so I decided to rack my brains for a place to knead.

Could I use our oak table? No - it has an antique wax stain, which I'm not sure I want flavouring my bread. Can I use the hob with a plastic chopping board on it? Mmm, a bit too small and slidy. What about the one small work surface we have with the toaster and kettle on it? No, too manky - I'm not sure how well we clean behind the Dualit, and I cannot be bothered to start boiling water and getting the antibacterial wipes out.

Ah, but what about my 28cm diameter Le Creuset casserole pot? Would it be possible to make bread in that? Potless readers know how much my Le Creuset pot means to me, and it is never far from my mind when it comes to kitchen shenanigans, but can it save the day today?

So I got all of the bread dough ingredients together and dumped it all together in the pot. After a quick stir with a spoon to lightly mix the wet and the dry stuff together, I used my hand to knead the dough around the pot. After one minute, the dough was very sticky and I quickly glanced over at the oak table, to see whether it would be possible to clingfilm it - but I carried on kneading regardless. After two minutes the dough was less sticky, but not yet leaving the sides of the pot. Three minutes in, and the dough was starting to leave the sides of the pot. I left the dough and washed my hands. When  I returned with clean hands and fresh resolve, I gave the dough a two minute proper pounding around the sides of the pot.

Bingo, perfect dough made! No mess, no fuss, and with somewhere handy to allow the dough to prove - the pot! I just bunged on the lid and waited for an hour for the dough to double in size before knocking it back and allowing it to prove for a second and final time before baking.

I don't care if our next place is a mansion with a 10,000 sq ft kitchen. I'm making my bread in a casserole pot forever. The most important thing, is that the amount of flour you would expect to be lightly covering all your kitchen surfaces in the normal course of bread-making is not there. Try it, it's brilliant.

Asda has 1.5kg bags of strong white bread flour on offer for 60p at the moment. You only need 1kg for this recipe, so that works out at 40p per loaf. Factoring in the yeast, sugar and salt, and this bread still only comes in at £1 per huge loaf, or 50p for two normal sized ones, or 10p per pizza base or roll.

My old faithful Le Creuset pot saves the day, yet again! Quite frankly, I'm not surprised.

Makes a huge 1kg loaf, or 2 regular 500g loaves, or 10 pizza bases, or 10 rolls


1kg strong white bread flour
20g (or 3 x 7g sachets) easy bake dried yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 pint of tepid water

Mix all of the ingredients together, with a spoon, in a bowl or large pot, and then knead the dough in the pot for five minutes until it is springy and elastic. Cover and allow to prove for an hour. After an hour, knock the dough back and knead for three further minutes. Place the dough onto a floured baking sheet, form it into an oval bread shape and allow to prove for a second time. Bake in a 200c oven for 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden and crunchy and the inside sounds hollow when tapped.

Here are some flatbreads I made to accompany my personal all-time favourite Chilli con Carne recipe. Just roll out golf ball-sized pieces of dough until they are 2mm thick, and dry fry them in a hot pan - delicious.


  1. It's interesting to hear how you make the most of your limited space, and it seems you're very successful! That chilli con carne looks yum!

    1. Hey Kitchens Guy, thanks for your reply. Check out my other bread recipes (category link button to the right -->) for more delicious things you can make in a 5sqm space!

      And thanks again, the chilli con carne recipe is a bit of a favourite here - it's Mrs Ribeye's 'desert island' dish.

      Catch you later,



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