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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

no-knead bread.

So here I am, still on my search for a good baguette. I came across a recipe from The New York Times  which has been replicated on many other blogs so I decided to give it a try. Although the recipe didn't say baguette, but I figured it could just be shaped into one later.

The good thing about no-knead bread recipes? It's just waiting and waiting and waiting. This particular one requires the dough to develop from 12 hours up to 18 hours initially. Here's what you get at first.
And this is what I got at the end of 17 hours.
The dough was extremely wet. So wet, it was almost soupy. I couldn't even pick it up! I though to myself, That can't be right. So I added extra flour until it at least had some kind of structure. I had no idea how in the world can it even be shaped, let alone into a baguette. In the end, I dumped it, or rather scraped it, into my loaf pan quite unceremoniously and left it to rise, hoping for the best.

After 2 hours of rising and 30 minutes of baking, I had my loaf.
The top had a crisp crust but the sides did not even have a crust. This made slicing quite the chore! The texture- spongy and moist. Not surprising since the dough was so wet. But flavour-wise, it did not impress me enough. Sure, it was better than my previous attempt, but its still far from the best. Still, I encourage first-time bread bakers to give this a try.
No-Knead Bread
time: about 1 1/2 hours plus 14 to 20 hours' rising


3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.
1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

And my search continues...

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