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Minimalist No-Knead Bread Technique (Part 2)


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#31 scubadoo97

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 11:17 AM

I've recently started making this bread. First one turned out great with the addition of rosemary. 2nd one had rosemary, roasted garlic and olives. The 3rd one was half whole wheat. I want to try a rye bread using this method. My first attempt looked great. Just like most of the photos posted. Round, brown and crusty with nice big holes in the crumb.

#32 emsny

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 11:35 AM

No, Pam R, the novelty has by no means worn off - this remains our house bread. I'm in flux about flour, though: the best flavor (or at least the one I'm accustomed to) comes from Great Valley Mills unbleached hard wheat flour, but I can't seem to get hold of them to order more. I've tried various Giusto's and KA flours but it isn't quite the same. Does anybody know if anything has happened at Great Valley?

#33 BekkiM

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Posted 31 May 2007 - 07:37 AM

I am waaay late to the party, but my first batch is rising on my kitchen counter as I type--I'm so excited I can hardly stay at work. I'd much rather be at home watching the yeast grow. :raz:

Though I somehow missed this thread in its infancy (and it took me 3 days to get through all 21 pages), I was inspired to the technique because Jeffrey Steingarten wrote about it in this month's Vogue AND included a very nice plug for eGullet.
Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.

#34 Miriam Kresh

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Posted 31 May 2007 - 09:25 AM

I bake the no-knead recipe at least once weekly, and like others, experiment with flours and additives. The one I like most so far has a sour WW starter, but the rest of the flour is white. No olives, nuts, seeds, herbs, although I use and like all of those at other times. The plain sourdough variation somehow satisfies me most. Although yesterday I added 1/2 cup of oats to the original recipe and the result was almost as good.

Miriam

Edited by Miriam Kresh, 31 May 2007 - 09:25 AM.

Miriam Kresh
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#35 scubadoo97

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Posted 31 May 2007 - 11:09 AM

I have to admit that my first attempt has been my best. The wheat and the most recent wheat/rye did not rise as well and were too dense. I didn't add any sweeteners which are common in wheat and rye breads. I will go back to using the white flour and maybe some herbs for flavor.

#36 Cookie Dibs

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 08:31 PM

I have to admit that my first attempt has been my best.  The wheat and the most recent wheat/rye did not rise as well and were too dense.  I didn't add any sweeteners which are common in wheat and rye breads.  I will go back to using the white flour and maybe some herbs for flavor.

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I've tried versions with part whole wheat, all KA bread flour, and with added seeds and nuts.
I also like the white the best.

Not to be sacreligous....My last experiment included about 1/4 cup of cake flour and a tablespoon of olive oil...really. I shaped it into fat baguettes, and tented the cookie sheet with foil. It was like a ciabatta. Very good, and long lasting - it was still delicous several days later, toasted after being in the refrig...

#37 SaltySnack

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Posted 27 June 2007 - 07:53 PM

I need help! I finally have had the time to try this recipe and am in a place where I can do it. I think I've made 4 batches this week or maybe even 5.

The bread just isn't coming out fully cooked. What do I do to fix this problem? the crust is great, but the inside is dougy.

1. Use less water, I tried this the last time I made the bread, still the same extremely doughy texture after baking
2. different baking equipment - not going to happen, I am not going to buy a $150 le crueset pot just to experiment with making bread a few times, i'll stick to the pyrex dish
3. heat the pot longer?
4. cook the bread covered longer?
5. am i letting it sit too long before baking?
6. different oven temperature

What do I do differently? Has anyone else had ths problem?

Why has this bread been so easy for so many other people and just keeps turning out wrong for me. The flavor is there, the crust is there, just the insides aren't quite up to par. Is it because I am in rainy Louisiana and it is so humid? What is the problem???

#38 BekkiM

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 09:37 AM

I need help! I finally have had the time to try this recipe and am in a place where I can do it. I think I've made 4 batches this week or maybe even 5.

The bread just isn't coming out fully cooked. What do I do to fix this problem? the crust is great, but the inside is dougy.

1. Use less water, I tried this the last time I made the bread, still the same extremely doughy texture after baking
2. different baking equipment - not going to happen, I am not going to buy a $150 le crueset pot just to experiment with making bread a few times, i'll stick to the pyrex dish
3. heat the pot longer?
4. cook the bread covered longer?
5. am i letting it sit too long before baking?
6. different oven temperature

What do I do differently? Has anyone else had ths problem?

Why has this bread been so easy for so many other people and just keeps turning out wrong for me. The flavor is there, the crust is there, just the insides aren't quite up to par.  Is it because I am in rainy Louisiana and it is so humid? What is the problem???

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Are you weighing your ingredients or just measuring them by volume? I'm thinking that the humidity in LA may result in a much moister flour than what some of us in more arid climates are using.

My first batch (I've made about the same number as you) was definitely doughy--it helped to (a) weigh the ingredients to ensure the proper hydration ratio and (b) use the instant-read thermometer to get the interior of the loaf up to the correct temperature. In fact, the driest batch was the one I forgot about (my excuse being that I was meeting with our kitchen designer at the time and the discussion of a new oven completely drove the experiment out of my mind) which ended up being about 5 degrees hotter than the recommended temp. I didn't much care for the mahogany exterior (I like my crust a little lighter), but the interior was great.

I did not go out and buy a $150 Le Crueset, but I did "splurge" on a $25 cast iron pot at Target. It heats up very nicely and is a good volume for the single loaf. I've been letting it preheat for at least 45 minutes before plopping in the dough.

You don't say how long you've been cooking covered vs. uncovered, so it's hard to say how modifying those ratios will work for you, but since we're talking about a dollar's worth of ingredients, it might not be a bad idea to test a few loaves working the ratio up and down and seeing what the impact is for your environment.
Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.

#39 jgm

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 09:52 AM

I think it's all in the baking time, and I think a cast iron pot would retain a lot of heat that would radiate into the bread and accomplish the extra baking it sounds like you're needing.

The amount of time with the lid on, affects how thick and crunchy the crust will be. When I bake my bread, I try to get it extremely brown, but not burnt. I take the lid off at 20 minutes, and that's about all the crunch and chewiness I want.

Cast iron's properties are different than any other type of pan. I bought a $30 pot-and-lid combination at Wal-Mart. Since you like the flavor of this bread, and you're obviously interested in it, I would encourage you to find some regular cast iron. My pot, by the way, is about 3 to 3 1/2 quarts, and it's plenty big enough. It wouldn't hurt to look in thrift stores, too. Our local food writer recommends that; he found several pieces of Le Creuset in a thrift store, $100 for the lot.

I'm gonna start stalking him, since he obviously knows where to go and has the karma to make it happen. :biggrin:

#40 prasantrin

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 02:44 PM

Are you cutting into the bread when it's still warm? It needs to be cooled for a few hours before you slice into it. I noticed when I can't resist that fresh-out-of-the-oven slice, it's always a bit soggy inside.

#41 joancassell

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Posted 29 August 2007 - 09:59 AM

I started with a variation of the bread, from the King Arthur Flour catalogue, having had no success with the Times recipe (too gloopy to handle). I then varied the King Arthur variation a bit. I used 13 3/4 oz. King Arthur AP flour, 3 oz. pumpernickel flour, 3 oz. mixed seeds (pumpkin, flax, toasted sesame, sunflower -- but I think you could use whatever you like), 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt, 1 5/8 cups spring water. I used a dough mixer (easier than the Kitchenaid, learned about these from a King Arthur breadmaking course) to blend, let it rise for 18 hours, folded it a few times on a floured board (needed a dough scraper to do this) made a ball with the help of the dough scraper, put it into a greased bowl (King Arthur's suggestion: lots easier than a towel), let it rise for 2 hours, poured it into a Le Creuset 5 qt buffet pot preheated in a 450 oven . Removed the top after 30 minutes, baked 35 minutes more, removed bread and let ot cool on a rack for an hour. It was about 108 to 110 when done.

Delicious! Lots of flavor and texture, lots of holes, lovely crisp crust. So good I've been making it over and over. In fact some is in the oven right now. Yum!

The Le Creuset pot gets stained inside, though, and I'm thinking of getting an Emil Henry stoneware 4 qt. pot for this, which is what King Arthur recommends. Tried bleach on the pot, even tried a special Le Creuset cleaning product, but the casserole has tan stains that I can't seem to remove.

#42 Beanie

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 02:04 PM

I've had great success using a Chinese clay sand pot. I have this one with the double handles. It was only $7.00 at the Asian market in my area.
Ilene

#43 sanrensho

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 03:14 PM

I've had great success using a Chinese clay sand pot. I have this one with the double handles. It was only $7.00 at the Asian market in my area.

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That's a great idea. I have a few glazed nabe pots, I might have to try it out.

Have you experienced any cracking with preheating the clay pot? Any sticking issues?
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#44 Beanie

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 08:46 AM

I've had great success using a Chinese clay sand pot. I have this one with the double handles. It was only $7.00 at the Asian market in my area.

View Post


That's a great idea. I have a few glazed nabe pots, I might have to try it out.

Have you experienced any cracking with preheating the clay pot? Any sticking issues?

View Post


Sorry for the delay in responding. No problem preheating the clay pot. Sometime I soak it in water for a few minutes before placing it in the cold oven, but I can't say this makes a difference because I've also preheated it without soaking. The first time I used it, the bread didn't stick; the second time it stuck in a few spots. Now I spray the inside with pan spray just before placing the dough inside and it works like a charm. A few fine hairline cracks have developed on the outside surface, but I think this if from using the pan over a direct flame on the gas range. The enamel surface inside the pot is fine. I think the cracks are typical of this type of pot; the wire around the outside holds it together. Eventually it will break, but then I'll spend another $7.00 for a replacement. I've had it for two years and use it for cooking small quantities of soups and stews as well as baking bread. One final thing: These potholders for really good for grabbing the stubby handles on the clay pots.
Ilene

#45 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 09:00 AM

I was quite interested in your post, as well as another mention of good results with a 3 1/2 quart enameled cast iron pot.

I have been disappointed in the size of the loaf coming out of my 5 qt dutch oven, and I've been pondering smaller options to get a higher loaf, but lodge offers a 2 1/2 qt model that seems a bit small, and several variations on 4 qt that look like shorter versions of my dutch oven--not the smaller diameter I need.

It's easy to get stainless pots in a variety of sizes, but I figure the thermal mass is critical here, and want to avoid the enamel pots where I end up paying lot$ for the enamel coating that I don't particularly want for this particular application.

Should be easy to find a nicely sized clay pot now that I'm reassured it can take the heat!

Edited by Wholemeal Crank, 11 September 2007 - 12:10 PM.


#46 Pontormo

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 09:40 AM

Just made batch number 3, maybe, months after first attempt. Used Abra's formula for larger loaves (24 oz. total, though I used KA bread flour for protein content & a little less than 4 oz. WW for flavor). 20 minutes lidded, though I'd go for 30 minutes next time. Final minutes on rack. Might also take loaf out sooner since bottom crust blackened a bit on one side.

The results were mixed on a humid rainy day, the interior somewhat damp perhaps because I speeded up the cooling process by sticking the loaf in front of the AC. Don't. Toast excellent, nonetheless.

Here's where I remain disappointed: little spring and shape.

I use a 5 or 6-quart enamel Dutch oven [bottom says "26" and "FRANCE"; Staub's inexpensive line] and was unhappy w the spread of what seemed like an inadequate amount of dough the first two times. Thus, the increase of flour and water. When I plopped the raw loaf into the heated pot, I was hopeful since the volume seemed perfect.

Results measure just a little more than 3 inches in the center. Form? Not so much a dome with sloping sides as a cake with tall sides rising straight upward with just a little more height in the center.

Even though I jiggled the dough a bit before covering it w a lid and closing the oven door, some of the dough remained pressed against the sides of the pot for a long time before contracting. I didn't have to labor to get the loaf out; it's not that the loaf stuck to the pot's surface.
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#47 Pontormo

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 09:42 AM

P.S. Anyone have tips for cleaning the enamel--or links to relevant tips? What was once a nice bright yellow is becoming quite autumnal.
"Viciousness in the kitchen.
The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

#48 Joe Blowe

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 11:09 AM

Bleach works in all light-colored enameled interiors.
So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

#49 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 11:34 AM

Interesting to see more comments about the pots used for this and the quantity of dough.

I am not surprised to see that just increasing the dough volume does not work to give the desired shape to a larger pot. This is a fragile dough with passively rather than actively developed gluten, and it makes sense that there may be a limit to how large a loaf can be created before it collapses under its own weight.

I have a 5 qt pot and found my loaves were lower than I wanted too. My preferred solution would be to find a smaller pot, but cast iron pots in the 3-4 quart size range that are not enameled (so not subject to the color changes, chips or cracks) are hard to find.

Maybe the solution is to reduce the dough volume and use the smaller plain cast iron pots that are more readily available, like this 2 qt pot from lodge:

http://tinyurl.com/23ueb2

Or try the chinese clay pot from a few posts back.

#50 Patapsco Mike

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 11:49 AM

At the risk of being a thread caboose, let me say that the recipe in the NYT article was a revelation to me. I tried a bunch of bread recipes over 2 decades, and they ranged from :huh: to :angry:. At best maybe :smile: Then I followed the recipe, and first try was :wub: :wub:

If you are still on the fence about trying it, you really need to take the leap. It's so easy it's laughable- and the results.... I popped that first loaf out of the pot and I was in total disbelief. It was crusty, crackling as it cooled. I was flabbergasted. In my wildest dreams I never imagined I could make a crusty holey loaf like that without some special oven, several classes, and God knows what kind of expensive contraptions and PITA gyrations and fermentations. I did it with things I already had in the house for heaven's sake, and made a fantastic loaf the first time. My wife came in the house, looked at a sliced piece in disbelief, and said "you made that??"

It was, and remains, a revelation.
Any dish you make will only taste as good as the ingredients you put into it. If you use poor quality meats, old herbs and tasteless winter tomatoes I don’t even want to hear that the lasagna recipe I gave you turned out poorly. You're a cook, not a magician.

#51 Beanie

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 12:29 PM

This is a follow up to my previous post about the clay pot. After reading Wholemeal Crank's post, I went home last night and measured the size and capacity of my clay pot. I knew it was small, but I hadn't realized just how small --only 2 quarts. :shock: The diameter across the top is 8 inches measured from inner edge to edge. The bottom diameter is 6.5 inches. The interior depth is 3 inches to bottom of rim, 4.5 inches to top of rim. I did not scale back the quantity of dough. So those of you having problems getting a tall loaf with a 5 qt. pot may want to try something smaller. I took a look at the link to the Lodge pot from Wholemeal Crank's last post and it appears to be 8 inches across along top and bottom. The clay pot has a smaller bottom diameter and creates a loaf with sloped sides.
Ilene

#52 sanrensho

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 01:45 PM

This is a follow up to my previous post about the clay pot.


I forgot to thank you about the clay pot info. I'll try it with my glazed nabe pot (Chinese made) and report back. My pots also have hairline cracks but have held together, despite using them both on a butane stove and electric coils.
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#53 Beanie

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 03:00 PM

I forgot to thank you about the clay pot info

You're welcome. :smile:

I'll try it with my glazed nabe pot (Chinese made) and report back.

Good luck. I hope it works out well. Please post photo if possible.
Ilene

#54 achevres

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 08:54 AM

I finally tried this recipe!! It is as easy as everyone says and the bread is great and even better considering it's soo easy. I did the variation posted earlier with 1/4 cup cake flour, the rest bread flour and 1 TB olive oil. I wanted to post because I used a pot no one has mentioned yet, a cast aluminum baker by Guardian (vintage) and that worked very well.
Posted Image
Mine has an aluminum lid.

#55 Joe Blowe

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 11:30 AM

Well, it's been a year since Lahey’s no-knead recipe appeared. How y'all doing? How many loaves have you made? What modifications have you made?

I'm on loaf number 49, and have played extensively with the recipe over last year. I've kept notes on results from short rises, long refrigerated rises, different ratios, etc.

Here's the "basic recipe" I've settled on, the one that gives the best results for my schedule and tastes. Feel free to add olive oil, herbs, salumi, veggies, etc.

468 grams unbleached all-purpose flour
360 grams water
9 grams kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast

Mix the ingredients, cover, and let rest for 18 hours.

After the initial rest, leave the dough in the bowl and turn/fold the dough over using a plastic/rubber/silicone spatula. Once you have formed a nice dough ball, dust the entire dough ball with rice flour and rest for an additional 2 hours. (You'll note that by this point you will not have actually handled the dough with your hands. Not that there's anything wrong with that. And, yes, I still like kneading by hand!)

At the end of the second rise, roll the dough out of the bowl (the rice flour makes it nearly impossible to stick) into your cast iron pot that has been preheating in a 450F degree oven. Add 5ml of water to the pot before replacing the lid.

Bake for 20 minutes at 450F. Remove the loaf from the pot and bake directly on the oven rack for an additional 45 minutes at 350F.

This method results in a drier loaf (not damp in the center), and measures approximately four inches high at the center. It is not an "artisanal" loaf, but it's tamer crust makes it much more sandwich-friendly than the original recipe. The good part about keeping notes is that I can easily switch between the two styles depending on my needs for the day.

I've also been playing a lot with extended rises lasting up to 48 hours. The results have been fantastic!

Posted Image
So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

#56 Jane Die

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 12:24 PM

It just so happens that I have a batch in the oven as I type this! :shock: This is my 4th batch, I think.

I let my dough go for 24 hours, then another two hours on the counter after I manhandle it for a few folds. So far, I've had great success. The batch in the oven was mixed with 100 grams of dark rye flour, which made for a much wetter initial dough. Some day, I'm going to try to let it go for 48 hours as Joe Blowe recommended.

I've got pictures of the first two loaves, and I'll take a couple of pics of this batch. I've been baking the loaves in a cast iron chicken fryer, roughly 4 or 5 quart capacity with high walls. I was reluctant to use my Le Creuset as it seemed a bit risky to use a $200 French oven for a $2 loaf of bread.

Anyway, it's been coming out pretty wonderful and I'll post a couple of pics when it's out of the oven.

:smile:

I'm also toying with the idea of making some sourdough starter. But I'm wondering if it's worth the trouble when this simple sponge method of Lahey's works so well with outstanding results? Still, I'm going to give it a go, I think.

~0~0~0~

edited to add "Some day" because clearly I can't try anything with the batch in the oven.

Edited by Jane Die, 07 November 2007 - 12:26 PM.


#57 sanrensho

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 12:29 PM

I'm also toying with the idea of making some sourdough starter. But I'm wondering if it's worth the trouble when this simple sponge method of Lahey's works so well with outstanding results? Still, I'm going to give it a go, I think.


I think you'll find it's well worth the trouble, for the depth of flavor and keeping qualities alone.
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#58 abooja

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 02:00 PM

I've baked five loaves of NKB using the original recipe, each time with great success. (In fact, this afternoon's lunch was comprised, in part, of two slices of my latest success.) However, I've also baked around 8 or 9 loaves of sourdough versions of the same with far less success. I've tried as much as a cup and as little as a couple of tablespoons of starter, liquid starters and doughy starters, shorter rise times and longer rise times, both retarded and room temperature, and still get a yellow-hued loaf with a dense, wet crumb and a none-too-crispy crust. :rolleyes: Given the minute amount of instant yeast called for in the original recipe, I wonder if I shouldn't change the starter amount to one teaspoon or less. I've successfully used this same starter in a few loaves of pain au levain, so I don't believe that's the problem. It's my formula. Nothing so far beats the original for a crispy, crackly exterior and an elegant, holey interior. I wish I could figure out what I'm doing wrong. Oh, well. It doesn't cost a whole lot to experiment.

-- Lisa

#59 Pam R

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 02:14 PM

Thanks for posting Joe. I've been meaning to get back to this bread for a while now, but haven't. The 48 hour rise is intriguing . . I'm assuming it helps to develop more flavour?

#60 Jane Die

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 02:24 PM

Okay, here's my history with the no-knead bread recipe. Loaf # 3 is missing, or perhaps it was never actually made..

Anyway, here's the first batch, which in my opinion was the best by far. I used KA Bread Flour and baked it in the cast iron chicken fryer, which has a heavy cast iron lid. All of these batches have risen well, which is another reason I'm reluctant to put the bread in a 7-quart Le Creuset. I don't want it to spread much, I'd rather have a good rise.

Posted Image
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Second batch, which I think was mostly KA Bread Flour and maybe the remainder was Gold Medal Organic Bread Flour, perhaps 150 grams. The texture was finer than the first batch. I personally prefer the texture of the first to the second.

Posted Image

Fourth batch *or maybe the third?!?* :wacko: was made today with KA Bread Flour and 100 grams of Rye. It's the darkest loaf to date, and has a crispy exterior, but a bit finer texture. The taste of the rye isn't strong, but gives it a nice tang. Still, not my favorite, but it's a good loaf.

Posted Image
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Now, I just hope these pics show up! :raz:

Edited by Jane Die, 07 November 2007 - 04:35 PM.