Beat Me To It …

Beat Me To It …

I’ve been meaning to blog about the No-Knead Bread recipe that Mark Bittman ran in his Minimalist column last week in the New York Times, but Luisa at The Wednesday Chef pretty much beat me to it. Go read her post — it’s terrific and says most of the things I wanted to say about this recipe. Like Luisa, I usually don’t even read the Minimalist columns — the food always seems sort of okay, but Bittman likes things much sweeter than I do, and seems to be a fan of my least favorite combo — fruit and meat. I don’t like sweet entrees at all. But this bread recipe caught my eye. I’ve been fooling around with bread for a couple of years — I got so spoiled in the Bay Area, where you can always get good chewy, crusty bread. We’ve got a decent bakery over in Bozeman called On the Rise, but until recently, no one was delivering regularly up here in Livingston.

So, I’ve been playing with bread and this No-Knead Bread recipe
is the bomb. . Here are a couple of pictures of the first loaf. First, one
in the pot, and then one on the cutting board …
bread in the potno knead bread

I bought a sourdough starter the first winter I was up here, but
I’ve had trouble with it. The dough is always so soft that I wind up
with flat loaves. And despite buying a stone for the bottom of the
oven, and despite spritzing water with a spray bottle while baking,
I’ve also never gotten that good, shattery crust.

The title of the No-Knead Bread recipe kind of bugged me. Like dinner, I don’t get what’s such a big deal about kneading — actually, it’s always sort
of been my favorite thing about making bread — but what appealed to me about this recipe is that it promised shattery crust, and big airy, chewy texture. That’s what I’ve been after these past couple of years, and I’ve always wound up with sort of leaden loaves, with okay crust, but nothing to write home about. I was shocked how well this method works. When I dumped the dough into the hot pot, I really had no faith. But the bread was amazing — a little
flatter than I would have liked, but the crust was perfect and even
three days later, the bread was still nice and chewy — not crumbly.
I’m thrilled. I’ve got another batch fermenting now — for this one I
substituted some of the sourdough starter that’s been languishing in
the back of the fridge for the plain water. I’m hoping to get a little
more lift in the dough, as well as that lactic acid sourdough taste.
We’ll see.

3 thoughts on “Beat Me To It …

  1. We’re captivated by this recipe too. Our third batch is fermenting as I type.

    My husband has repeatedly pointed out that once we’ve achieved the perfect crust, we won’t have anything to live for. Life is dedicated to the quest!

  2. Hi Charlotte, just catching up here. (I’ve been a bad blogger myself). Of I made this bread, too! How fun that everyone is doing it. It came out okay, but also a little flat. I’m thinking smaller pan next time. Thanksgiving weekend I’m going to pass it along and make it with my mom. This is one fast-spreading bread recipe!

  3. I made it too! I baked it in my ceramic cocotte last night, and just tried a slice this morning. It’s a great excuse (and delicious platform) for some lightly salted butter. I wonder if most bread recipes would be improved if baked covered in this fashion? That to me is the greatest innovation of this alchemical recipe, and I’m also impressed that a mere quarter teaspoon of yeast yields such wonderful results. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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