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Minimalist No-Knead Bread Technique (Part 1)

Bread

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#541 Sebastian

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 03:44 PM

I did mine in a 6qt stainless steel pot with a copper bottom and a stainless lid..

#542 Pam R

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 06:58 PM

is the main trick to the bread using the heavy pans for baking it...has anyone tried just baking in a traditional bread pan?  or on a stone...how about adding rye to the recipe.  I'm looking for a quick rye loaf I can make at my bakery for sandwiches. thanks....

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Welcome to the eGullet Forums tillie baker. Check out this post on the last page that shows the results of baking it in a bread pan (with another inverted on top, I believe).

Several of us have tried using rye and other flours in our bread - to mixed results (you'll have to go through the topic to find them...). I used 1 cup of rye to 2 cups of white bread flour - enjoyed the bread, but it was a little heavy. The caraway seeds I added were great though.

Good luck.

#543 slschnur

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 07:23 PM

I've noticed that some of the loaves in the pictures have the tops slashed. I haven't been doing this, although I always do with my "traditional" bread recipes. With this particular wet dough, when do you slash? It seems that the dough is just too wet to slash it when it goes in the pot. And does it make a difference? I've had pretty good results without slashing, but they would probably be better with slashing.

#544 djyee100

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 12:02 AM

I'm looking for a quick rye loaf I can make at my bakery for sandwiches.


In his followup article to the original No-Knead Bread article, Mark Bittman said he liked to keep rye flour to 20% of the total flour.

Here's the link. It may work, it may not, it may cost you to access the archives. http://select.nytime...DAB0994DE404482

good luck!

#545 Joe Blowe

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 09:18 AM

slschnur,

Link to the original webcast video is here:

http://nytimes.feedr...43ab87b1474fb89

There is no slashing involved or required...
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.

#546 Sea Urchin Ragout

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 04:18 AM

The follow-up article in the NYT states the recipe needs 1g of dried yeast. Is this right or a mistake? I tried the recipe with 1g and although the bread tastes nice and the texture is amazing, it didn't really rise beyond 3 inches high.

Another thing that confuses me in the video is the 2hr rising in the towel. The article states the dough will double in size but the video does not reflect this at all. Can anyone clarify?

#547 djyee100

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 02:49 PM

The follow-up article in the NYT states the recipe needs 1g of dried yeast. Is this right or a mistake? I tried the recipe with 1g and although the bread tastes nice and the texture is amazing, it didn't really rise beyond 3 inches high.

Another thing that confuses me in the video is the 2hr rising in the towel. The article states the dough will double in size but the video does not reflect this at all. Can anyone clarify?

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The amount of 1 g of dried yeast is correct. How fresh is your yeast? (Just check the expiration date.)

To make a higher loaf, you can simply use a smaller pot so the dough spreads less over the bottom of the pot as it's baking. People have successfully baked this bread in 3-qt pots.

Ovenspring is another question. People have reported different levels of ovenspring when baking this bread. I don't know what factors contribute to more or less ovenspring. (Anybody else know?) My advice is to make sure that the dough is not too wet. The dough should form a moist, sticky ball, and not be like a batter.

The dough should double in size regardless of what the video looks like. I suggest using the poke test to determine that the dough is ready. When you poke the dough with your finger, the indentation remains for a few seconds without filling up.

BTW, when baking this bread some people have discovered that the 500 degree temp mentioned in the video is too hot. The article recommends 450 degrees.

good luck! :smile:

Edited by djyee100, 18 January 2007 - 03:27 PM.


#548 tillie baker

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 03:00 PM

does anyone have the original recipe...I've read through a lot of the posts but not all 19 pages and havne't seen the original recipe. thanks :huh:

#549 djyee100

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 03:33 PM

does anyone have the original recipe...


Try this link. http://bp0.blogger.c...read Recipe.JPG

#550 artisanbaker

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 11:09 PM

he was on martha today and they flashed back to his first appearance 10 years ago.

he certainly seems like a good guy and surely deserves a lot of this success.

he's bringing fresh bread to the masses for the first time since atkins!

#551 Sea Urchin Ragout

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Posted 19 January 2007 - 02:33 AM

You're right my yeast was ancient. Will try again this weekend with some fresh stuff and perhaps a little less water.

As for ovenspring, I found this little snippet on bakingbusiness.com. Helps explain ovenspring partly I suppose

The increase in volume at the beginning of baking is called ovenspring and is due to the expansion of CO2 being driven out of the liquid phase plus evaporation and expansion of alcohol and water. Proofing temperatures affect ovenspring. As the proofing temperature increases, the amount of dissolved CO2 decreases, thus cutting potential ovenspring. Lower temperature proofing (85°F to 90°F, or 29°C to 32°C) may be more beneficial than the temperatures (105°F to 110°F, or 40°C to 43°C) commonly found today in commercial bakeries.

The follow-up article in the NYT states the recipe needs 1g of dried yeast. Is this right or a mistake? I tried the recipe with 1g and although the bread tastes nice and the texture is amazing, it didn't really rise beyond 3 inches high.

Another thing that confuses me in the video is the 2hr rising in the towel. The article states the dough will double in size but the video does not reflect this at all. Can anyone clarify?

View Post


The amount of 1 g of dried yeast is correct. How fresh is your yeast? (Just check the expiration date.)

To make a higher loaf, you can simply use a smaller pot so the dough spreads less over the bottom of the pot as it's baking. People have successfully baked this bread in 3-qt pots.

Ovenspring is another question. People have reported different levels of ovenspring when baking this bread. I don't know what factors contribute to more or less ovenspring. (Anybody else know?) My advice is to make sure that the dough is not too wet. The dough should form a moist, sticky ball, and not be like a batter.

The dough should double in size regardless of what the video looks like. I suggest using the poke test to determine that the dough is ready. When you poke the dough with your finger, the indentation remains for a few seconds without filling up.

BTW, when baking this bread some people have discovered that the 500 degree temp mentioned in the video is too hot. The article recommends 450 degrees.

good luck! :smile:

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#552 Susie Q

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Posted 19 January 2007 - 07:21 PM

Tried this twice last week in a small dutch oven with mixed results. The first turned out wonderful but not as high as some of ones in the pictures. The second was flavorful but flat. I may have let it rise too long the second time and it caught on the dishtowel when I flipped it. Yes, I did dust the towel with flour but maybe not enough.

It was dense but with the great flavor and crust it was gone by the end of our meal.

#553 Special K

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Posted 20 January 2007 - 05:56 PM

There are so many variations of this delightful, easy loaf of bread. I make this bread about every other day, and it gets gobbled down. Thought I would post pictures of my clay pot, during cooking, and final product.

As a farmer, this loaf satisfies the feeding of the family, as well as my time constraints.

Posted Image

30+ year Römertopf Clay pot

Posted Image

"Look Ma!, I am a big bread loaf now!"

Posted Image

Yum, especially made into a bologna sandwich.

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Andi, did you soak the Romertopf first?

#554 Amy Viny

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 01:21 PM

Been enjoying the thread. I too am having great success baking rustic loaves with this technique. But I wonder could you bake a rich loaf like a challah using this technique? Perhaps you could take a traditional challah recipe and increase the hydration and brush the top crust with an egg wash when you pop the dough in the oven. Oh also maybe you would bake the dough covered for the full duration to keep the crust softer. Has anyone tried anything like this?

#555 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 02:26 PM

Been enjoying the thread. I too am having great success baking rustic loaves with this technique.  But I wonder could you bake a rich loaf like a challah using this technique? Perhaps you could take a traditional challah recipe and  increase the hydration and brush the top crust with an egg wash when you pop the dough in the oven. Oh also maybe you would bake the dough covered for the full duration to keep the crust softer. Has anyone tried anything like this?

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I have been worried about the effect of the long fermentation at room temp on rich ingredients like eggs--would they develop off or unpleasant tastes? I've never used dairy in long fements unless most of the time was refrigerated. I'd presume that the baking would take care of any salmonella they might grow....

#556 skyflyer3

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 10:48 PM

There are so many variations of this delightful, easy loaf of bread. I make this bread about every other day, and it gets gobbled down. Thought I would post pictures of my clay pot, during cooking, and final product.

As a farmer, this loaf satisfies the feeding of the family, as well as my time constraints.

Posted Image

30+ year Römertopf Clay pot

Posted Image

"Look Ma!, I am a big bread loaf now!"

Posted Image

Yum, especially made into a bologna sandwich.

View Post



Andi, did you soak the Romertopf first?

View Post


When I tried it in my Romertopf, I soaked mine.

#557 amapola

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 04:34 AM

There are so many variations of this delightful, easy loaf of bread. I make this bread about every other day, and it gets gobbled down. Thought I would post pictures of my clay pot, during cooking, and final product.

As a farmer, this loaf satisfies the feeding of the family, as well as my time constraints.

Posted Image

30+ year Römertopf Clay pot

Posted Image

"Look Ma!, I am a big bread loaf now!"

Posted Image

Yum, especially made into a bologna sandwich.

View Post



Andi, did you soak the Romertopf first?

View Post


When I tried it in my Romertopf, I soaked mine.

View Post


I also used my romertopf but I didn't soak it. I just put it into the cold oven and let them heat up toghether. It rendered a nice crust and tasty crumb, and the clay baker was fine.
Skyflyer, how did the crust on your loaf turn out after soaking? Does the dough stick to the bottom of your romertopf?

#558 Sebastian

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 05:06 AM

Is it harder to get a dough made with whole wheat flour, or a portion of it made with wwf, to rise and form a nice crumb structure? I've done a few of them now using 1/2 wwf and 1/3 wwf, and i'm having a bear of a time getting it not to end up very dense...

#559 cajungirl

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 09:47 AM

I've used my romertopf for several loaves, no soaking, into a cold oven with great results. My brother, on the otherhand, soaked his and the bread stuck on the bottom...
Just a simple southern lady lost out west...

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#560 djyee100

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 03:17 PM

Is it harder to get a dough made with whole wheat flour, or a portion of it made with wwf, to rise and form a nice crumb structure?  I've done a few of them now using 1/2 wwf and 1/3 wwf, and i'm having a bear of a time getting it not to end up very dense...

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I make a loaf that is 50-50 unbleached bread flour and whole wheat flour. The whole wheat loaf has a slightly thicker crust and a slightly denser structure than a loaf made with all white flour, but those are the only differences.

I can only suggest: (1) perhaps change your brand of whole wheat flour, and (2) make sure the dough is moist enough. The higher gluten content of whole wheat flour will absorb more water than white flour. My whole wheat dough requires about 2 cups of water, compared to about 1 1/2 cups for a white flour dough. If you've successfully made this bread with all white flour, then you know what the texture of the dough should be like. Just make the same texture of dough with whole wheat flour.

:smile:

#561 eldereno

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 08:29 PM

The best combo of flours that I have used so far is: 2 cups AP unbleached flour, 1/2 cup unbleached bread flour, and 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour. I have gotten the same oven rise as with only the unbleached flours but with a little more flavor. It is the mix I now use most often (but still continue to experiment). I have ordered a smaller, oval french oven (I now use a 5 1/2 qt. Le Creuset round dutch oven and a 5 qt round cast iron dutch oven) to see if a higher smaller, oval shaped bread adds anything to it all.

I definitely love this technique. Have taken bread to my office and all the staff gave great reviews. It is so easy. Has made me much less afraid of trying other things. For example, made pizza dough Saturday and had a wonderful all homemade pizza for dinner tonight (from American Pie cookbook)!!!!! That was fun, too!!!!!
Donna

#562 in_quest

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Posted 24 January 2007 - 01:26 PM

Relatively inexperienced in bread making, my past efforts focused on rye recipes (hoping to mimic the great Goldberg Bakery crust and crumb that we can no longer get in Portland, OR). Found some excellent resources, but was discouraged by the time and detail steps required, plus my loaves turned out too dense.

Renewed by the articulate medical argument against contents of commercial bread in “You and Your Diet” by physicians Roizen and Oz (a truly great read), I decided once again to engage baking, this time pursuing recipes that yielded maximum health benefits (e.g., fiber, anti-inflammatories, complex carbs, avoiding enriched/bleached flour), rich flavor, and wonderful crust and crumb. My web research happily drew me to this so easy no-knead phenom, especially this forum. Not having discovered a published recipe that produced this Nirvana, I tried to synthesize from related successes and counsel of others.

Have baked 3 loaves using the “large” (approx 24 oz) approach. Trying to maximize proportions of spelt and dark rye; include flax seed, bulgur wheat, and barley; play with dough enhancers (i.e. xanthan gum, vital gluten flour). On my to-try list: Kamut flour (in place of unbleached-enriched AP), lecithin, ascorbic acid (vitamin C). First loaves were too dense (1/3 AP, 1/3 spelt, 1/3 rye with flax, bulgur, barley).

Most recent loaf: Upped AP proportion to 60%, spelt 20%, rye 15%, flax-bulgur-barley 5%. Very wet dough, maybe because spelt needs less water; don’t think my second rise would have passed the poke test. Better rise (20 hr., 3 hr.). Wanted thinner crust, so shortened covered time in dutch oven from 30 to 20 min. Baked at 450 degrees F to 210 internal temperature. Came out of oven at 4.0 in. high x 9.0 in. diameter, but shrunk to 3.75 high after cooling. Very tasty, improved (acceptable, but not great) holes and crumb, still a little too thick crust. Seems a little too moist (knife shows sticky dough remnants). Have never heard my loaves crackle.

Posted Image Posted Image

Am eager to get input from my more experienced peers: What is your experience with Kamut, various dough enhancers? How have you achieved good holes, crumb, crust, and moisture content with these kinds of flours? Suggestions re proportions of water or other ingredients; baking technique, temperature and times? Am I chasing the impossible? Oh, and maybe a little off topic, has anyone tried baking more traditional dough, say mixed in a bread machine or kneaded with a Kitchen Aid mixer, in the dutch oven—or is this oven within an oven technique only appropriate for the no-knead technique with its high water content?

#563 MelissaH

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 01:26 PM

I had a loaf not turn out so well today. But I can't pin the problem on any specific change, because I did a few things differently than in the past.

I started it last night, using about a third WW flour and the usual water, salt, and yeast, and adding a healthy spoonful of my sourdough starter. (My starter's been quiescing in the back of my fridge for a while, and because I'm starting to feed it and wake it up again, I had plenty sloshing around. So I threw in some, not so much for leavening power but to try and add flavor.) I also cut back on the water a bit, aiming for something that was a little less batterlike. What I wound up with was barely a dough, kneadable (which I did for a few minutes) but only with the aid of a plastic dough scraper.

It sat at room temperature for about 24 hours. My room temperature is on the cold side at the moment, because it's been very cold and windy here (temps in the single digits F, and gusts up to 35 mph) and I don't feel like burning money in the boiler. At the end of 24 hours, I was seeing plenty of bubbles on the surface, and when I tilted the bowl I could see definite strands of gluten.

This morning, instead of dumping it onto a coated towel, I dumped it onto a silpat, on my peel for easy transport again. Then I gave the dough a couple of folds (which it took to quite nicely). I cleaned out my bowl with hot water, dried it, and turned it over on top of the dough to serve as a cover.

Two hours later, I turned on the oven with the usual oval LeC pot inside, to preheat. After about half an hour of preheating, I uncovered the dough and brought peel with silpat and dough over to the range. Although the dough didn't hold its shape quite well enough to keep it away from the bowl, I had no problems getting the bowl off. The dough came off the silpat readily, and I was pleased to accomplish one goal: keeping down the level of flour dust in my kitchen's atmosphere. I think I'll continue to use a Silpat, although I may go back to using a rice-floured towel to cover the dough rather than the bowl. Or try the parchment route, especially if I decide to play around with methods of baking other than inside a pot.

I baked for 15 minutes at 400 degrees with the cover on the pot, and then a total of another 20 minutes uncovered. (After 15 minutes I tested the internal temperature of my loaf, and decided it needed a smidge more time.) And then I tried to dump the loaf out. It wouldn't come.

I pried at it with my leather welding gloves. No dice, but it felt like I got some bubbles at the top of the loaf, just under the crust.

I pried at it some more, with a wooden spatula. It remained firmly attached to the inside of the pot, but the top crust did start to tear out a bit more, confirming my fears of bubbles.

I finally got a metal spatula, and used that to free a few spots on the sides that had seized. Once one long side was free, I was able to get underneath. The real culprit seemed to be a spot on the bottom a little smaller than a square Post-it Note, which stayed stuck but ripped away from the rest of the loaf. And even once the rest of the loaf was out of the pot, this stuck-on chunk stayed stuck on. I finally did get it dislodged, and set it aside next to the loaf to cool.

Once the small no-longer-stuck chunk cooled, I tasted it. Beautiful crisp crust. And finally, FLAVOR! The bit that I ate most definitely tasted like something, the first time that's happened for me with a recipe like this! (I can't speak to the inside of the loaf yet, because I don't plan to cut it open and mangle it any worse until dinnertime. When that happens, I'll find out how bad the bubbles up top were.)

I'd like to know what I did that made this stuff stick, for the first time. Reduced water? Sourdough? Slightly lower temperature? Whatever caused the bubbles up top? The fact that I've only brushed the inside of the pot out previously, rather than properly washing it?

Speaking of the latter: now that the pot's cooled sufficiently, it's time to give it a soak to remove the last bit of stuck bread, and then a good scrubbing. If it's simply an unwashed pot that causes sticking, that should solve the problem...I hope.

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#564 sschiltz1

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 03:39 PM

Hi

I'm certainly not a bread expert but I've been baking this bread since Nov., probably at least a doz. times and i've done some experimenting(like everyone else). The first couple times I followed The Minimalists directions exactly with great results. I am using a 5 qt. LC oval D.O. and a Lodge preseasoned 5 qt. round BTWand have used AP flour and bread flour(KingArthur brand).. I then started doubling the recipe because I like lgr loaves and the D.O.'s were a little lg for single recipe. Then I started playing with my sourdough starter. I use 1/4 cup for single recipe and 1/2 cup for double (no additional yeast). Wow! What flavor and the crust is crispy and crunchy! By far the best sourdough loaves I've ever made. Along with the sourdough starter I also am using 1 cup(5 oz) of ww flour in place of 1 cup of bread flour. This last loaf I used dried cranberries and walnuts in the bread which I added with the dry ingredients. It is so delicious! I didn't get the big holes but the flavor is wonderful. Still got the great crunchy crust and surprizingly, no burnt cranberries on the outside!. I use cornmeal almost exclusively, instead of the flour or wheat bran. Love the extra crunch and flavor it really (for me anyway) enhances the bread and has been wonderful as far as preventing sticking. Actually I have had no trouble with the wheat bran or flour either. Ive been baking bread for more years than I care to admit but these last couple mos. I've made the best bread of my life because of this recipe. But what's most amazing is that so many people who have never baked bread , are now baking too. I think it's so great to see such involvement Steph

#565 kutsu

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 11:29 AM

Anyone have a metric version of the original recipe?

#566 cookman

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 11:54 AM

Anyone have a metric version of the original recipe?

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Bittman's original recipe:

430 g flour
345 g water
1 g yeast
8 g salt

#567 weinoo

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 11:58 AM

Ive been baking bread for more years than I care to admit but these last couple mos. I've made the best bread of my life because of this recipe.  But what's most amazing is that so many people who have never baked bread , are now baking too. I think it's so great to see such involvement  Steph

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Yes, more bakers and more baking! Not having been a bread baker, but now a fairly avid one, I really think it's the whole covered-dutch oven thing that makes this bread so special...my last two loaves were made side-by-side; however, one of them was baked in the covered dutch-oven and the other on a stone with steam introduced into my home oven via ice cubes and spritzing...the loaf that emerged from the dutch oven was shiny, crackly and beautiful next to the stone-baked version, which looked a little sad. Also, the oven-spring in the covered pot is really nice, while the one that baked on the stone was kind of uneven...though that may be due to my slashing technique (I know, not part of the minimalist recipe), which needs some work.

And don't get me wrong, they both tasted great, but the look of that bread that's baked in the covered pot draws oohs and ahhs!! So I've really come to think that the contained steamy environment of the covered dutch-oven best mimics that of a professional steam-injected oven.
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#568 Miriam Kresh

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 12:24 PM

I'm intrigued by this, because I bake this loaf uncovered and free-form on a preheated clay saucer. It spreads out more than I'd ideally like, but it has excellent flavor, holey crumb, and crisp, reddish crust. My oven, though, has no back vent; when the bread is baked through and you open the door, a cloud of vapor escapes. So I guess the ventless oven substitutes for the closed pot...?

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#569 Snadra

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Posted 28 January 2007 - 04:38 PM

I have had an unsurprising failure, and an unexpected success.

The failure: baked a loaf on Saturday, using bread flour and pre-head Le Crueset, but had neglected to print out recipe prior to baking, and didn't have computer access, so underbaked severely. Still, the crumb looks good, and I'll dry it out and use it for crumbs.

The success: mixed a second batch of dough Sunday, around lunchtime, using plain (all purpose) flour. This time, after about an hour when the dough had started to "ooze" I slicked some olive oil over the top. I'd experienced crustiness on the surface with my first batch, probably a result of the heat (30+ celsius, no aircon). At 7 (yes, less than 8 hours later), I split the dough in 3, and patted out pizza disks on 3 sheets of baking paper strewn with polenta, and allowed them to rise for 15 minutes or so.

I pre-heated a Le Crueset frying pan at 250 celsius, then transferred the topped pizza, paper and all (dough was too soft to slide off) into the pan.

The first one took just over 15 minutes, remaining on the paper all the time. The next two were just under 15 minutes. After 10 I slipped the paper out from under them and let them continue cooking directly on the pan.

If I were to try it again, I would probably bake each disk for 5 minutes or so on the paper, THEN top them and return to finish baking for 8-10 minutes without paper (they should have firmed up enough by this point). I will also try baking one with the lid on for the first baking.

The hardest thing is getting the pan out of the oven - the pan is large and heavy, but the handle is rather short.

Fantastic flavour and texture though - the absolute best base I have ever made, and better than most I've paid for. I had been thinking about getting a pizza stone, but now I don't think I'll bother.

I wonder how it would be if it had been allowed to rise for 12-18 hours?

Snadra

#570 tooearly

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Posted 28 January 2007 - 09:04 PM

Can anyone tell me : in the original recipe it called for folding then setting aside for 15 minutes before forming a ball: are there really two steps? There were not in the video? How does one form a good ball?





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