Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The staff of life

Wow, people are really curious about the no-knead bread. Lots of comments and questions! (That's one of my most recent loaves in the photo, kind of a bad angle, and we'd already snarfed down half of it, but you get the idea.)

Update: Not Martha points to the official NY Times update on the recipe, which offers their advice on issues such as water temperature and timing.

For me, I just used water straight out of the tap. As long as it's not too hot (which might kill the yeast), I didn't worry about the temperature.

Some folks who like flour over cornmeal say parchment paper eliminates the sticking problem. I have a ton of parchment paper, so duh, don't know why I'm not just using that and eliminating having to throw two kitchen towels in the wash. Next time. (But cornmeal is really awesome on it, by the way.)

I bake mine in a good-sized Le Creuset Dutch oven (that I got at a great markdown via these guys on eBay). The baking dish is pretty important, I think, because with the cover on it recreates that steamy bakery-style oven we're always trying to copy via ice cubes and dishes of water tossed into the oven.

I've never added sugar, since I figure the less white sugar in my life, the better. But I'm sure you could try it. I doubt you'll miss the sugar, though, expecially if you dip it in olive oil or use butter on it (it's also awesome plain).

I did make it once or twice and had it not rise as much as the other times. I suspect that was because I didn't store it in a very warm place and possibly because I used a different-sized dish once. But even though it didn't look as tall and towering, I couldn't tell any difference in the taste.

Happy baking!


Beth said...

WAX PAPER! I am totally using that next time. I made the bread yesterday but it stuck so badly to the towel that I lost about a third of the dough.

Talia said...

I went ahead and made a loaf of this today. I used 1 teaspoon salt and added 2 tablespoons sugar (I like my bread plain, but it usually needs just a little sugar I find.) My loaf actually came out kind of burnt -- and I don't think it was the sugar, since even the flour coating was charcoal black when I took it out. But the inside of the bread was just right, so as long as I chop off the crust it's fine.

It actually is like a more complicated version of the ancient Roman bread recipe I sometimes make. Roman bread: 3 cups flour, 1 1/3 cup liquid, 1 tablespoon yeast. Salt and/or egg optional. 400 degrees for 20 minutes; let rise in a dish overnight then heat.

Anne said...

That's a good rise you got on that one. Mine is not quite rising as much. Still, excellent loaf. I've been doing mine in a stock pot, heavy gague but nothing like LeC or cast iron. It works.