Sunday, November 19, 2006

No-Knead Update

This is my 10th loaf of No-Knead Bread from the New York Times' story on Jim Lahey’s recipe. It is a very forgiving recipe .

There is a very cool video showing Jim Lahey making the bread.

You can also still read Mark Bittman’s article
about Jim Lahey.

The recipe and the video are about the same bread but be warned that there are differences.
In this loaf I used bread flour, and a chef (about 1/4 c. of the dough from the day before–I dissolved it in a portion of the total 1-1/2 c. of water that I’ve settled on) for leavening. I varied the salt, increasing it to as much as 2 t. but Rick says it’s fine at 1-1/2 t. In the last few loaves I’ve been using kosher salt.

My initial rise is 18-24 hours, depending. I shape, let rest for 15 min. and then turn in to a banneton lined with a kitchen towel. I’ve been using coarse corn meal instead of wheat bran, to keep the dough from sticking to the towel. My second rise, in the banneton, is 2 hr. total. The last 30 minutes, I heat the oven and the pot to 450 degrees. I am using the 3 qt. ceramic pot pictured in my earlier post. The first 30 minutes of baking is with the top on. Then I remove the top and bake an additional 22 minutes. The crust is crackly, the loaf sings, the smell is divine, and the bread tastes delicious. You should try it.
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What I'm Listening To

Rick brought home the most wonderful CD: Gabriela Montero
Bach and Beyond. These improvisations are magical. She is a Venezuelan-American pianist with a classical career yet she has diversified to make this and another disc, and she has gigs at Joe’s Pub in Brooklyn. How cool is that. I wish she was performing in the Bay Area.

The Bach disc is her second recording.
The Amazon page has some sound clips. But one doesn’t really get much sense of the improvisational nature of this recording.

Her first CD is called Recital. It includes works by Chopin, Falla, Granados, Ginastera, Liszt, Rachmaninoff, and Scriabin. It was released in 2005
Listen to an NPR review that has excerpts. It really emphasizes her classical playing. I have not heard this CD.
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Saturday, November 18, 2006

NY Times Bread Video

It looks like the video of Jim Lahey making his No-Knead Bread is still available. Try this link: Bread Video .

The recipe given in the video is slightly different than the Times' printed recipe. There is a link for that in my earlier post. In the video, Jim uses 1-1/2 c. water (which is what I've been using). He doesn't show the second rise. I have followed the printed recipe. When Jim says instant yeast, he means regular dry yeast, like Fleischmann's.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The pots -- NY Times No-Knead Bread

The yellow pot is marked 3 qt. It is ceramic.

The orange-y pot is a "Mario Batali" pot made by Copco in China. It is enamel on cast iron with a cast stainless lid knob. Posted by Picasa

More No-Knead Bread

I have my 7th loaf of no-knead bread in the oven. This looks to be the high-bold loaf I have been searching for.

I have been experimenting with the recipe and have made the following discoveries.

I read at World Table, a Sullivan Street Bakery site which to Jim Lahey has posted, that when Mark Bittman said instant yeast, he meant regular, granular yeast, like the Fleischman’s that I used in the first loaf. However, I had purchased Red Star Quick-Rise which also contains sorbitan monostearate, and ascorbic acid and I have used that for the last 4 loaves.

I fiddled with the salt. In the first six loaves I stuck with the recipe and used 1-1/4 t. sea salt. In loaf 7 I used 2 t. kosher salt as per the discussion on eGullet . It has loads of wonderful feedback (191 posts over the last week) and lots of pictures.

I also SCOOPED the flour into a 1 cup measuring cup and sort of shook it to level it. I have been going with 1-1/2 c. water since the second loaf. I use coarse corn meal on my kitchen towel for the second rise. On this loaf I did my second rise in a banneton and I think that helped support the loaf during the second rise. It also made it easier to plop into the preheated pot–no burns, less cornmeal flying around the kitchen..

After all of the excitement of the first few loaves I went to Sur la Table to price a 5.8 qt Kiwi colored Le Creuset that I had been coveting. Instead, I bought a Copco enameled cast iron pot with a metal handle on the top (a lovely pumpkin colored Mario Batali model–6 qt. size – half the cost). I had used that for several loaves. For loaf No. 7, I went back to the ceramic pot (3 qt.). I baked it at 450 degrees for 30 minutes, top on, and then 22 minutes with the top off. I got the best oven spring on this loaf and it is the prettiest yet. Have to wait to see the inside and taste it.

7th Loaf

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No-Knead Bread

I know, I know. I haven’t been blogging. I knew when I saw the article in last Wednesdays’ New York Times about Jim Lahey’s bread recipe , that a new/old obsession would take over my being.

So I just took loaf number 4 out of the oven and I’m blogging about this because I need to talk about it.

I innocently started with loaf 1 to avoid cleaning my studio.

I didn’t bother to try to find out what instant yeast was. I was so impressed with this recipe because it seems as if it requires nothing special. And in the video, Jim Lahey emphasizes that the recipe is very forgiving.

In loaf one I used three cups of bread flour measured by SPOONING the flour into the cup. I followed the Times recipe (not the video ) and used 1-5/8 c. water. I used 1-1/4 t. sea salt and 1/4 t. Fleischmann’s Bread Machine Yeast (ideal for all RapidRise recipes). It contains only yeast and ascorbic acid.

Since I hadn’t baked bread for a few months, I proofed the yeast by putting it in about 1/4c. warm water (1/4 c. of the 1-5/8 called for in the recipe) that contained a pinch of sugar. Otherwise I followed the Times recipe.

Of course the probable reason for baking bread last Wednesday was that our heating system was on the fritz and it was cold in the house but I put the bread to rise on top of the refrigerator with the idea that it was the warmest place in the house.

I actually let it rise for 24 hours. I baked it in a 3 qt. ceramic casserole with a lid: preheat oven at 450 degrees with pot in the oven for at least 30 minutes. Plop bread into casserole, seam side up. It seems disastrous but shake the pot and all is well. Put lid on and bake for 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake an additional 15-22 minutes, et voilĂ !

I should have taken pictures but I didn’t. Go to Toast to see what my dough and bread looks like. It’s so amazing. What crumb! What crust! The loaf sings! My house smells fabulous!