Wednesday, April 6, 2011

No-Knead Bread Again and Again

As I've said before, Jim Lahey's formula for no-knead bread has changed the bread baking landscape for the home baker.
For me, and for a lot of other bakers, the most difficult procedure is getting the dough into the hot Dutch oven without suffering a third degree burn.
I've been experimenting with a different method of getting the dough into the Dutch oven, and it's been working fine.
To make a 1 kilo (a magic weight for me) loaf:

5 cups unbleached white flour
2 teaspoons salt
3/8 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups water

I'm assuming everyone knows the basic method of preparing the dough (I've gone over it previously on this blog) so I won't repeat it again.

 Risen dough

On day #2 loosen the dough from around the edge of the bowl, and as you do this, add flour around the gap you're temporarily creating. This makes it easier to release the dough into the oven.
 Creating gap for extra flour

Preheat the oven with the Dutch oven inside at 500ºF. for 30 minutes.
Remove Dutch oven and add cornmeal to bottom.
Using your dough scraper to assist, dump dough into Dutch oven to bake.
 Turning dough into Dutch oven

Dough in Dutch oven

(The dough never touches the counter, nor does it go onto a cloth or into a basket)

Bake 30 minutes with cover on at 500ºF.
Bake 15 minutes with cover on at 450ºF.
Bake 15 minutes with cover off at 450ºF.

 Baked loaf

If your loaves are burning on the bottom or become rock hard on the bottom, then you need some insulation. Add extra cornmeal or, as I do, put an insulated baking sheet on a low rack to deflect heat.


Dusty said...

Hi Stu,

I love the taste of whole wheat. Any idea of the modifications I would need to make for 50/50 or 100% whole wheat loaf?

I LOVE this blog!


Breadhunter aka Stu Silverstein said...

Hi Dusty,
I too, love whole wheat. I go back and forth, sometimes all white, sometimes all whole wheat, but usually a mix.
Try 1/2 white and 1/2 whole wheat, using the same liquid measure. Be flexible and adjust the flour until you get the right texture. It will work, but the more whole wheat you use, the smaller the mouse holes.
Send me some photos.

richard said...

Instead of having a bowel of herbs and olive to dip your baked bread in, try adding some oregano or herbs de Provence directly to your mix. When you slice into a warm loaf, the aroma is truly outstanding and your taste buds will love it. A question. How can I preserve a fresh baked loaf. If a but it in a plastic bag after it cools, it destroys the nice crisp crust. If I put in in a paper bag or leave it out it drys and gets hard as a rock? To date my solution has been to eat it 3 times a day until gone? Any suggestions?

Breadhunter aka Stu Silverstein said...

Your solution of eating bread three times a day is a decent solution, but maybe you should eat just what you feel like eating and give the rest of your fresh bread away. The homeless shelter in my neighborhood is always happy to get fresh bread from me, even if it's only a half loaf.