Saturday, February 7, 2009

No Knead Bread - My Attempt

This method has been making its way around the food world for several years now, I'd cut out the recipe when it was published in the SMH but did not attempt it until recently - during the hottest month this year of course, because now I have a functioning oven!

Here is a link to the original article: Mark Bittman's Minimalist Column in the New York Times

It's been tweaked several times since its original publication, with bloggers recommending methods for improving the flavour, reducing the rising time, even removing the need to preheat the covered cookware.

I followed the traditional recipe mostly, just upping the salt a little and was very please with the results. The only scary part was heating the oven to 230c, I used the Cook's Illustrated method of using baking paper to do the second rising instead of using a tea towel (I used white polenta to sprinkle over the paper) and you can drop the whole thing straight into the pot which is safer as that preheated pot and its lid is REALLY hot!

I was worried that the paper would catch fire, but as you can see, it barely browned. This is the nicest loaf of bread I've ever produced and I plan to experiment more with the technique.

This is the dough after the second rise

The bread after the first 30 minutes of baking with the lid on

And the delightful result!
You must let the bread rest for about 30 minutes before eating as the moisture is still working its way through the crumb
Postscript: Tried an updated version of the recipe today - another hot day - by substituting some of the water with honey flavoured beer and 1 tablespoon white vinegar, and made 1 cup of flour ordinary instead of bread flour. No discernable difference except a slightly pleasant sourness to the bread but barely any hint of the beer, might have to add more next time or a bit of real honey.
PPS: 4 days later and the bread is still moist and tasty. It also toasts up a treat!
15 Feb: Third loaf and got a flavour I was happy with!
3 cups bread flour
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups liquid made up of:

1 tbsp white vinegar
2 tbsp verjuice
3/4 cup honey beer
the rest of the amount made up with filtered water
a big drizzle of honey

Then follow rest of no knead bread technique

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