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Other Minimalist Bread Techniques

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#1 Teya9

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 12:44 PM

After my success with the Sullivan St. Bakery recipe I've got the bread baking bug. I'm very happy with this bread BUT I'm also interested in enriched type doughs too. This has lead me to Charles Van Over's book the Best Bread Ever. His doughs are all made in the food processor and are a little fussier with temps and such. I've also seen mentioned the book No Knead to Knead. Just wanted to put a shout out to all you bread makers that may have used either of these books and what your successes have been with them.

#2 Lori in PA

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Posted 07 December 2006 - 10:24 AM

I am actually liking the recipes in No Need to Knead better than the NYT guy one. Most often, I make the Pane Rustica. I'm bastardizing the two recipes somewhat -- using the hot pot with lid method with this books' recipes.
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#3 sanrensho

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Posted 07 December 2006 - 10:22 PM

I made the Basic Focaccia recipe from No Need to Knead today, driven by my interest in the NYT no-knead recipe but without a dutch oven or enamel cast iron. 12 hour first rise in the fridge, 2 hour second rise, 20 minute third rise. Baked as loaves. Popped into a 500 degree oven and immediately dropped to 400 degrees. Baked to 208 degrees internal temperature and left to completely cool before cutting into it.

I didn't read the recipe thoroughly enough and left out the salt (for some reason, I thought it was only sprinkled on top). The taste came out bland as expected, but the crumb was nice and dense, not too moist and did not have as many holes as the NYT bread photos from the other thread. The crust was excellent. Overall, I was impressed with the crust and texture of the dough, considering how little effort it took.

**Above paragraph edited to make up for my failure to read the recipe properly...**

I'm already looking forward to trying some variations with rye/whole wheat flour and olives/nuts/dried fruits. I'm no bread baker, but these minimalist bread techniques are definitely sparking my interest in baking bread.

Edited by sanrensho, 08 December 2006 - 12:23 AM.

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#4 devlin

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Posted 07 December 2006 - 11:00 PM

I don't knead any of my breads. I spent a long time learning a variety of bread techniques, and once I read a comment in Alan Scott and Daniel Wing's bread oven book about Scott's discussion a few years ago with a young baker who was learning a fairly new (to contemporary bakers anyway) technique that required only the folding, or stretch and turn method and the benefits of that, I started to experiment and quickly abandoned the standard techniques.

I haven't kneaded bread for 5 years now.

I've posted this before, but here, for illustrative purposes:

Posted Image

and,

Posted Image

and,

Posted Image

Life's too short to spend it kneading bread. Especially when you've got 40 loaves staring you in the face :smile:

#5 Miriam Kresh

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 03:03 AM

Life's too short to spend it kneading bread. Especially when you've got 40 loaves staring you in the face  :smile:

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There are certainly times when knowing how not to knead becomes essential - like if you've got those 40 loaves to do, or you're just after the delicious flavor of that long-proofed bread. But myself, once I feel I've mastered the technique that my home conditions demand, I think I'll go back to kneading sometimes. I like to knead. But then, I'm a home baker, whose one or two weekly loaves, plus the challas on Friday, are enough for my family. I must say though, that in the past week, while I've been a bit under the weather and easily worn out, the no-knead recipe put good, home-baked bread on my table, where before I would have just sent someone out to the bakery.

I've also been thinking about other no-knead recipes. Anna Thomas' The Vegetarian Epicure (the first book) has a recipe for herb and onion bread that I've been making for years, with variations as the fit takes me. It requires the "normal" amount of yeast, stirring vigorously for a few minutes, 45 minutes first rise, and 10 minutes second rise before baking in a 350-degree oven. The dough is batter-like and sticky, like the NY Times recipe. I've always successfully baked it without a cover. Obviously, the herbs and onions provide plenty of flavor. But I've varied it with chopped dried tomatoes and basil, sugar, spices, and chopped prunes or raisins - it all works well, and I've never thought of it as "no-knead bread", but simply as a fast yeast bread.

Elizabeth David discourses at length on the advantage of using less yeast and a longer proof, in her "English Bread and Yeast Cookery". Her recipes don't reduce the yeast so drastically - many call for 15g, while our 1/4 teaspoon is, I think, 1g (correct me if I'm wrong!). Her loaves do require kneading.

I'm curious about other no-knead recipes...I'd better start hunting for "No Need to Knead", since it's been mentioned here quite a few times.

Miriam
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#6 paulraphael

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 09:38 AM

Has there been any discussion of the theory behind no-knead techniques?

I'm assuming that the very long proof combined with the high hydration is just allowing the gluten to form on its own, but I'm wondering if anyone has studied it.

It seems similar to the pain a l'ancienne technique that Peter Reinhart writes about, although instead of depending on refrigeration it uses tiiny quantities of yeast.

Any thoughts on this? Advantages/disadvantages vs. other delayed fermentation techniques?

#7 devlin

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 10:58 AM

Elizabeth David discourses at length on the advantage of using less yeast and a longer proof, in her "English Bread and Yeast Cookery". Her recipes don't reduce the yeast so drastically - many call for 15g, while our 1/4 teaspoon is, I think, 1g (correct me if I'm wrong!). Her loaves do require kneading.

I'm curious about other no-knead recipes...I'd better start hunting for "No Need to Knead", since it's been mentioned here quite a few times.

Miriam

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While I can't respond off the top of my head to your yeast question, I would think David's breads would work as easily with the stretch and fold/turn method.

I bake a variety of breads, including a fairly dense bleu cheese and walnut loaf and a sweet potato/pecan/raisin bread, a multi-grain whole wheat loaf, etc, and I use only the stretch and turn method. Whenever I find a new thing I want to experiment with, or coming up with my own formulas, I use the same method. I never knead. I do understand the occasional delight in physically kneading, though. But I actually enjoy the stretch and fold method, and shaping the doughs is always lovely.

I don't use commercial yeast anymore either, which is why I'm unable to veryify your yeast question. Two of the breads in my post above are sourdough and the center one is an earlier bread with commercial yeast that I don't make anymore because it's just too wet. All my breads are fairly wet doughs, though. And I turn and shape using bench scrapers.

Edited by devlin, 08 December 2006 - 11:00 AM.


#8 sanrensho

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 07:12 PM

Has anybody made the Pan de Mie from No Need to Knead (NNTN) using an overnight rise in the fridge?
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#9 Lori in PA

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 07:52 AM

Has anybody made the Pan de Mie from No Need to Knead (NNTN) using an overnight rise in the fridge?

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I haven't made it at all. As you can see, it has a "normal" amount of yeast, so isn't really designed for an overnight fridge retard, but only trying it will tell!
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#10 Miriam Kresh

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 09:47 AM

While I can't respond off the top of my head to your yeast question, I would think David's breads would work as easily with the stretch and fold/turn method.

I bake a variety of breads, including a fairly dense bleu cheese and walnut loaf and a sweet potato/pecan/raisin bread, a multi-grain whole wheat loaf, etc, and I use only the stretch and turn method. Whenever I find a new thing I want to experiment with, or coming up with my own formulas, I use the same method. I never knead. I do understand the occasional delight in physically kneading, though. But I actually enjoy the stretch and fold method, and shaping the doughs is always lovely. 

I don't use commercial yeast anymore either, which is why I'm unable to veryify your yeast question. Two of the breads in my post above are sourdough and the center one is an earlier bread with commercial yeast that I don't make anymore because it's just too wet. All my breads are fairly wet doughs, though. And I turn and shape using bench scrapers.

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Devlin,

Yes, handling the dough is satisfying to body and soul, even if your hands are in it only briefly.

The yeast question was Paul's, but I am interested in your comments about the exclusive use of stretching/folding in all your doughs. I remember a post 'way back in the original thread where you describe your basic procedure, using a long-fermenting poolish. This inspires me to try it too, for my weekday bread.

I think, though, that to get the traditional dense crumb of a challah, one would have to use a recipe calling for kneading. Am I wrong? At any rate, I've given up using SD for challah, as the family finds my attempts too unlike the sweetish, soft, eggy, braided loaf they really long for.

Miriam
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#11 dividend

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 10:16 AM

I really like the breads in Dan Lepard's The Handmade Loaf. The basic white leaven is kneaded for 15 seconds at a time at intervals, before you do the stretch and fold thing. This bread bakes up with a nice open crumb, and a papery thin crisp crust.

The first time I tried it, I was kind of skeptical about the initial sticky lumpy dough. But after a few minimal kneads and rests, its was as silky smooth as anything I've kneaded for 15 minutes.

If you don't have this book, you really should.

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Edited by dividend, 09 December 2006 - 10:24 AM.

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#12 sanrensho

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 12:25 PM

I haven't made it at all. As you can see, it has a "normal" amount of yeast, so isn't really designed for an overnight fridge retard, but only trying it will tell!

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Thanks for your comments, Lori. I went ahead and made the Pain de Mie last Friday/Saturday. I thought it turned out fine.

-18-hour overnight fridge retard (scheduling issues)
-Punched the dough for a few minutes in the bowl (not on a floured surface as instructed).
-2-hours second rise
-20-minute rise in the pans (covered)
-Baked to 207 degrees internal temperature

I was initially concerned after you pointed out the amount of yeast, but then I noticed that her whole wheat recipe calls for a similar amount of yeast (2 tbs) with about the same volume of flour.

I thought the loaves came out fine, with an even-textured crumb. Not my favorite type of white bread, but that is more a matter of personal taste. My next attempt from No Need to Knead will be the whole wheat bread.

Edited by sanrensho, 11 December 2006 - 12:29 PM.

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#13 Lori in PA

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 12:45 PM

I made the whole wheat bread from NNTK, but added walnuts. It made the best toast!
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#14 djyee100

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 02:13 PM

It seems similar to the pain a l'ancienne technique that Peter Reinhart writes about, although instead of depending on refrigeration it uses tiiny quantities of yeast.

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I was also struck by the similarity to pain a l'ancienne, which I have made several times, with mixed results. In Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice, the procedure calls for mixing the dough with ice water and immediately putting it in the fridge. The next day you take the dough out and let it rise at room temperature. When this method worked for me, the bread was exceptionally flavorful, with a beautifully caramelized crust.

But half the time this method did not work for me. Either the yeast died from the harsh cold treatment, or it never woke up. Once I kept the dough around at room temperature for almost 2 days before it rose properly. Honest to God, I really think the instant yeast I put in the dough just died, and some stray wild yeast cell took pity on me, showed up, and made the bread rise.

I've shelved pain a l'ancienne as a breadbaking technique for a couple years now. Fortunately, the minimalist no-knead technique has arrived, and the results from that technique taste very much like pain a l'ancienne.

I believe Reinhart has modified his technique to keep the dough out at room temperature for an hour before refridgerating it. Maybe that helps the little yeasties get a better hold on life.

#15 Fromartz

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 02:26 PM

Do you have a simple explanation of the stretch and fold technique. How often or how many times within a rise?


Elizabeth David discourses at length on the advantage of using less yeast and a longer proof, in her "English Bread and Yeast Cookery". Her recipes don't reduce the yeast so drastically - many call for 15g, while our 1/4 teaspoon is, I think, 1g (correct me if I'm wrong!). Her loaves do require kneading.

I'm curious about other no-knead recipes...I'd better start hunting for "No Need to Knead", since it's been mentioned here quite a few times.

Miriam

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While I can't respond off the top of my head to your yeast question, I would think David's breads would work as easily with the stretch and fold/turn method.

I bake a variety of breads, including a fairly dense bleu cheese and walnut loaf and a sweet potato/pecan/raisin bread, a multi-grain whole wheat loaf, etc, and I use only the stretch and turn method. Whenever I find a new thing I want to experiment with, or coming up with my own formulas, I use the same method. I never knead. I do understand the occasional delight in physically kneading, though. But I actually enjoy the stretch and fold method, and shaping the doughs is always lovely.

I don't use commercial yeast anymore either, which is why I'm unable to veryify your yeast question. Two of the breads in my post above are sourdough and the center one is an earlier bread with commercial yeast that I don't make anymore because it's just too wet. All my breads are fairly wet doughs, though. And I turn and shape using bench scrapers.

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Edited by Fromartz, 11 December 2006 - 02:27 PM.


#16 devlin

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Posted 12 December 2006 - 08:59 PM

Do you have a simple explanation of the stretch and fold technique. How often or how many times within a rise?


Elizabeth David discourses at length on the advantage of using less yeast and a longer proof, in her "English Bread and Yeast Cookery". Her recipes don't reduce the yeast so drastically - many call for 15g, while our 1/4 teaspoon is, I think, 1g (correct me if I'm wrong!). Her loaves do require kneading.

I'm curious about other no-knead recipes...I'd better start hunting for "No Need to Knead", since it's been mentioned here quite a few times.

Miriam

View Post



While I can't respond off the top of my head to your yeast question, I would think David's breads would work as easily with the stretch and fold/turn method.

I bake a variety of breads, including a fairly dense bleu cheese and walnut loaf and a sweet potato/pecan/raisin bread, a multi-grain whole wheat loaf, etc, and I use only the stretch and turn method. Whenever I find a new thing I want to experiment with, or coming up with my own formulas, I use the same method. I never knead. I do understand the occasional delight in physically kneading, though. But I actually enjoy the stretch and fold method, and shaping the doughs is always lovely.

I don't use commercial yeast anymore either, which is why I'm unable to veryify your yeast question. Two of the breads in my post above are sourdough and the center one is an earlier bread with commercial yeast that I don't make anymore because it's just too wet. All my breads are fairly wet doughs, though. And I turn and shape using bench scrapers.

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I'll try. Although it sometimes depends on the temp of your kitchen (and the temps of your water and the like), generally speaking, I will fold the dough over the space of 4 hours, which means three folds and then shaping and proofing. What you want to see is sufficient rise, a nice firm rise with some evidence of activity (a few bubbles here and there, nothing extreme). You'll get the feel over time.

The fold itself goes like this. You let the mixed dough rise in a bucket or bowl for about an hour (my doughs are fairly wet, which makes a difference), scrape it out of the bowl onto your work surface, and using a bench scraper (or what have you), gently extend the dough into a circle, not too much, not too little (I'm sorry, that's as exact as I can get), maybe about doubling the size of the pile of dough you've scraped out onto the work space. Just push or slide your bench scraper under the dough all around and gently pull a bit to widen the dough. And then starting on the right-hand side of the dough, pushing the bench scraper underneath the dough again, fold the dough over 1/3, letter-like, onto itself. Then moving to the top, do the same thing, and then to the left, and then the bottom. Pick the dough up with the bench scrapers and dump it upside down into your bowl. Cover with a towel. Repeat twice (more or less, depending on the activity of the dough. Shape, proof, bake.

Hope that helps.

#17 aonis

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 01:57 PM

I'm sorry if this sounds foolish, but I've been working with this no-nead recipe for awhile now and I can never get my dough to really rise.

I start in the evening with:

3c flour (King Arthur, white, unbleached)
1 1/2 cups of water
1 1/2 tsp of sea salt
1/8 tsp of yeast (RIZE)

I leave it overnight in the oven with light on and in the morning all of bubbles have developed and there seems to be some nice activity going on, accompanied by a lovely yeasty smell.

When I prepare for my second rise, I turn it out onto a floured surface and fold it a few times and onto a clothed baking tray it goes covered into the oven again (for warmth). This is where things become strange. The doughs always spread out and expand, but the they never go upwards.

I always imagined the dough rising as though it were inflated and I'm not seeing that here. When I toss it into my dutch oven it just spreads out and ends up delicious but thin.

What am I doing wrong!?

I've tried forcing it into a smaller dutch oven, say 4 quart, but that feels like cheating.

please help......

#18 tsquare

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 03:28 PM

I'm sorry if this sounds foolish, but I've been working with this no-nead recipe for awhile now and I can never get my dough to really rise.

I start in the evening with:

3c flour (King Arthur, white, unbleached)
1 1/2 cups of water
1 1/2 tsp of sea salt
1/8 tsp of yeast (RIZE)

I leave it overnight in the oven with light on and in the morning all of bubbles have developed and there seems to be some nice activity going on, accompanied by a lovely yeasty smell.

When I prepare for my second rise, I turn it out onto a floured surface and fold it a few times and onto a clothed baking tray it goes covered into the oven again (for warmth). This is where things become strange. The doughs always spread out and expand, but the they never go upwards. 

I always imagined the dough rising as though it were inflated and I'm not seeing that here. When I toss it into my dutch oven it just spreads out and ends up delicious but thin.

What am I doing wrong!?

I've tried forcing it into a smaller dutch oven, say 4 quart, but that feels like cheating.

please help......

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I use 3 cups flour, usually King Arthur white, unbleached, 1 1-2 tsp salt (I use some portuguese sea salt, but just 'cause that is what I have) and 1/4 tsp yeast - Red Star Active Dry. Stir. Add 1 cup plus 2 T liquid (typically 3 1/2 oz beer, 1 T white vinegar, and the rest temperate tap water. Stir for a few minutes. Leave in the bowl with cover ajar - on the kitchen counter. Our house is between 62-72 degrees. Let sit at least 6-8 hours, or longer. Turn out on a floured surface, fold or knead about 15 turns, shape into a round loaf and put on parchment paper in a 10" skillet, cover with plastic wrap, loosely. Let rise, room temperature 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Slash the dough top in an x. Transfer, with the parchment paper, into the preheated 500 degree dutch oven and put in the oven. Turn down the oven to 425 and bake 30 minutes covered. Remove the cover and bake 25-30 more.

Every one has risen wonderfully and looked picture perfect, except when I used a local flour - it turned out to be low gluten and more suited to cakes and the like. I think this technique is suited to cool rising. You can also let it sit overnight in the fridge, just give it extra time to warm up/rise after forming the loaf.

The dough isn't terribly tall before it goes into the oven - the height happens in the oven - I'd say it doubles or slightly better.

Good luck - keep trying.

Edited by tsquare, 09 November 2008 - 03:32 PM.


#19 aonis

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 05:16 PM

I'm sorry if this sounds foolish, but I've been working with this no-nead recipe for awhile now and I can never get my dough to really rise.

I start in the evening with:

3c flour (King Arthur, white, unbleached)
1 1/2 cups of water
1 1/2 tsp of sea salt
1/8 tsp of yeast (RIZE)

I leave it overnight in the oven with light on and in the morning all of bubbles have developed and there seems to be some nice activity going on, accompanied by a lovely yeasty smell.

When I prepare for my second rise, I turn it out onto a floured surface and fold it a few times and onto a clothed baking tray it goes covered into the oven again (for warmth). This is where things become strange. The doughs always spread out and expand, but the they never go upwards. 

I always imagined the dough rising as though it were inflated and I'm not seeing that here. When I toss it into my dutch oven it just spreads out and ends up delicious but thin.

What am I doing wrong!?

I've tried forcing it into a smaller dutch oven, say 4 quart, but that feels like cheating.

please help......

View Post


I use 3 cups flour, usually King Arthur white, unbleached, 1 1-2 tsp salt (I use some portuguese sea salt, but just 'cause that is what I have) and 1/4 tsp yeast - Red Star Active Dry. Stir. Add 1 cup plus 2 T liquid (typically 3 1/2 oz beer, 1 T white vinegar, and the rest temperate tap water. Stir for a few minutes. Leave in the bowl with cover ajar - on the kitchen counter. Our house is between 62-72 degrees. Let sit at least 6-8 hours, or longer. Turn out on a floured surface, fold or knead about 15 turns, shape into a round loaf and put on parchment paper in a 10" skillet, cover with plastic wrap, loosely. Let rise, room temperature 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Slash the dough top in an x. Transfer, with the parchment paper, into the preheated 500 degree dutch oven and put in the oven. Turn down the oven to 425 and bake 30 minutes covered. Remove the cover and bake 25-30 more.

Every one has risen wonderfully and looked picture perfect, except when I used a local flour - it turned out to be low gluten and more suited to cakes and the like. I think this technique is suited to cool rising. You can also let it sit overnight in the fridge, just give it extra time to warm up/rise after forming the loaf.

The dough isn't terribly tall before it goes into the oven - the height happens in the oven - I'd say it doubles or slightly better.

Good luck - keep trying.

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Thanks for the advice. I will try to rise it in a more confined environment and see what happens.

#20 tsquare

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 06:41 PM

Just double checked - our dutch oven has an 8 on the bottom - so I assume that is the size you are using?

#21 jackal10

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 01:28 AM

The theory is that its time and water that allows gluten development, not mechanical work. The stretch and fold is more to do with mixing for an even structure, and incorporation of some air in the dough (like flaky pastry) to form nucleation for gas cells.
When making bread many different processes are happening in the dough. Besides gluten network formation, the dough is becoming saturated with carbon dioxide from the fermentation. Eventually small bubbles will start to form, and the dough become increasingly fragile.
That is the point to shape it and move it to a banneton or couche or other support, handling gently so as not to knock the gas out and destroy the developing structure.
Nowadays we like large holes and coarse textured bread. It was not always so. 50 years ago the ideal was a fine, even texture with small holes, like pan de mie, so the bread was knocked down to re-distribute and reform the the gas cells.
Baking in a confined space, like a cloche or a casserole simulates the high bottom heat and steam (dough is nearly half water) of a professional bread oven. the bottom heat lets the bread souffle, and the steam gelatanises the starch on the outside to give a crisp crust.

I now almost always use stretch and fold. Its by far the easiest technique and most satisfactory.

Let me also recommend Dan Lepard's book and web site http://www.danlepard.com However I may be biased as a picture of my bread is in it.

#22 dougal

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 06:06 AM

I'm sorry if this sounds foolish, but I've been working with this no-nead recipe for awhile now and I can never get my dough to really rise.

I start in the evening with:

3c flour (King Arthur, white, unbleached)
1 1/2 cups of water
1 1/2 tsp of sea salt
1/8 tsp of yeast (RIZE)

...

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I've never heard of RIZE (I'm in the UK), so I Googled it.

It seems to be an "Active Dry" (not an "instant mix") yeast.

Can that really be suitable for mixing direct into 'no knead' breads?


On another tack, I'd say you should measure (and definitely not look up a conversion table) the weights of flour (and water) that your cup measures are giving you. The amount of flour in a cup depends so much on the user that I really think its an inaccurate way of communicating flour quantities. A recipe using cups of flour is a vague recipe! (And 5% variation in flour quantity changes the character of the dough, and thus the bread, quite noticeably.)
What weights are you actually using?

Edited by dougal, 10 November 2008 - 06:08 AM.

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