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July 5, 2007 / Tony

No-knead bread baking

I made the no-knead bread.  I was disappointed. . . but not in the way you would think.  I’ve tried many times to make a really good loaf of bread.  I don’t even pretend to aspire to high-quality artisanal breads but I thought I could make a dense, chewy loaf with a crisp and crackling crust.  As to yet, no matter how hard I tried, I have yet to be satisfied.  Here’s a picture of my last attempt:

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These loaves were OK-they had a nice, tight crumb and a very firm interior texture but they were just ho-hum anyway.  Maybe they’ll make good croutons. 

Now, I made the no-knead bread and it was astoundingly good.  Here’s two pictures of it:

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As you can see from the pictures, the crust has that wonderful crackly dimension to it and the crumb has large, wonderful airholes while still retaining a dense, chewy texture.  The taste was just a little sour.  This really was the best loaf of bread I have ever made in my life and hence, I was disappointed in myself.  I can not make a better loaf of bread than one in which there is virtualy no work involved.  All of my previous kneadings and restings and risings have been in vain.  They’re pointless now-why work harder for an inferior product.  Anyway, enough self-lamentation, here’s the recipe with a few hints:

No-Knead Bread (from the blog Dylan’s Outlet)

15 oz bread flour

12 oz warm water

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp of active dry yeast

Throw everything in a large bowl and stir it together to mix.  It will form a wet dough.  Mix it enough to make it more or less evenly textured, but don’t worry about it to much.  Cover it and let it rest for 18-24 hours.  Yes, overnight.  It will get little bubbles in it, and when you check it, may look a little fallen.  Then, take it out of the bowl and put it on a lightly floured surface.  Flour your hands and form it into a round loaf and rest between two floured sheets of wax paper (sprinkling some bran flakes on the loaf and helps prevent it from sticking to the paper).  Let the round rest for about an hour and a half, then preheat the oven to 450 degree for about half an hour, with a dutch oven inside.  Take the dutch over out, flip the dough into it, cover and put it back in the oven.  After half an hour, take the top off to let the crust brown.  After another 15 minutes, take the loaf out of the oven and let it cool for about 30 minutes before cutting.

Just a few notes.  I was short on bread flour so I used half bread flour and half all-purpose flour.  The result was still delicious.  I’ll do an update when I make the recipe correctly.  Be careful as you can when you transfer the bread into the Dutch oven so you get an evenly risen loaf.  I was a little careless and my loaf was misshapen.  I hope you have a Dutch oven.  Lucky for me, I have a very nice Le Crueset enameled cast iron Dutch oven.  I love it-especially when I’m making stew.  If you don’t have one, try to find any round, deep pan that can be stuck in a very hot oven.  No cover?  Maybe some aluminum foil? 

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5 Comments

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  1. Todd / Jul 5 2007 10:43 am

    Tony,
    Take your favorite bread recipe and bake it in your Pre-heated Dutch Oven and you should get some good results. You can also let your dough proof in your Dutch oven and then bake it.

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