Saturday, October 3, 2009

No Knead Bread Experiment #3-5: Ways to Make it Not Work

Okay, like I often do, I leapt to the conclusion one could do anything to the no knead bread recipe and still get a great loaf of bread. Wrong. I got too enthusiastic adding stuff to the basic formula and have ended up with three less-than-satisfactory but informative results.

Experiment #3: Yogurt-Dill Attempt

With this experiment, I replaced about 1/3 cup of water with chopped-dill-in-a-tube and plain Greek-style yogurt. The dough did not rise as much as previously and the resulting loaf was heavy and a little gummy. Ugh. The taste was fine so I think this still deserves some experimentation. I think I went overboard with the yogurt.

Experiment #4: Olive-Garlic-Rosemary Attempt

You want to kill it? Try this method. Add finely chopped kalamata olives, minced garlic, and minced fresh rosemary to the basic mix. It looked great when I went to bed, rising nicely with the usual holey look. Next morning, it had turned into a batter. Not a dough, a batter.

I decided it wasn't really going to turn into a risen loaf of bread so spread it in a preheated lasagna-style pan with the intention of seeing if it could be turned into savory biscotti. After the first half hour of baking, I cut it with a pizza wheel into strips and tossed the strips back into the pan for the second baking. Passable biscotti resulted. Again, fine flavors but not real bread.

To correct this one, I think I will try what some recommend which is not adding things to the dough until after the long rise.

But the savory biscotti have definite potential! This deserves more exerimentation.

Experiment #5: Sweet Cinnamon Bread

To this recipe, I added about a tablespoon of brown sugar and about 3/4 tsp. cinnamon. It was okay but not great. It needed some whole wheat flour to improve its flavor.

I am also guessing that my recent attempts were affected by using a different flour brand, one light for biscuits without enough gluten for bread. The next grocery trip will bring home different white flour, some gluten powder, and something more flavorful like whole wheat flour, rye flour, etc.

Still-in-all, no-knead bread is so easy and so inexpensive that I see no reason to abandon it. We like good, chewy bread and in lieu of easy access to a great Italian bakery like one finds in Boston's North End, this will have to do.

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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.