Tuesday, September 29, 2009

No Knead Bread Experiment #2: Better Results

I couldn't believe the coincidence last night! There was Alton Brown on "Good Eats" throwing together a loaf of no-knead bread as I had loaf number two sitting on the counter begging me to have another slice.

Unlike the last one, this loaf practically flew out of the pan (as opposed to being stuck like concrete) and has a wonderful golden bottom crust (as opposed to a slightly singed, thick brown bottom). I also made this one a bit bigger to have a loaf that would be taller and last for a few days of lunch sandwiches. It still has the wonderful chewy crust of the original with no real effort.

  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 cups tepid water (boiled and cooled to remove chlorine)
  • 1/2 tsp rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 rounded tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
I used less salt and the bit of sugar to satisfy our preference for a less salty, slightly sweeter bread.

Follow the preparation procedures previously posted here. Basically:
  1. Mix the ingredients
  2. Let them sit, covered for about 18 hours
  3. Flop out onto a board and use a spatula to bring the bottom around to the top
  4. Let sit 15 minutes
  5. Flop into a foil hammock.
  6. Let sit 2 hours
  7. Flop into a preheated pan and bake, first covered, then uncovered.
The chief variation I tried here was adjusting the temperature, time and the pot I baked it in.

This time I tried a combination of a spring form pan and a larger covered pot. I was not going to have to chisel this one out of the pan! I preheated the covered iron pot but not the spring form pan. I lined the spring form pan with parchment paper brushed with olive oil.

I flopped the dough into the line spring-form pan and then plopped that into the hot covered cast iron beast in the oven. This was probably overkill. The bread wasn't stuck at all to the paper or the pot. So I think the next time will see me going back to the original cast iron pot but oiled with a disk of parchment thrown into the bottom.

To try to take care of the over browning, I set the oven to 430°F instead of 450°F (my oven has digital controls). I set the initial covered baking for 40 minutes instead of 30 followed by the fifteen minutes uncovered. The thermometer showed the interior of the loaf to be over 210°F at that point.


So, next time I think we are about ready for another loaf of bread, I will do experiment #3. And this time it will get some flavoring added to it. Dill, ya think?

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Imprecise & Inexpensive

Two themes predominate in my approach to cooking. 1. Daily cooking of flavorful food need not be a precise art. 2. You can be an adventurous cook on a budget. Cooking and eating should be fun for both cookers and eaters.