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Minimalist No-Knead Bread Technique (Part 1)

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Hmmm. I wonder if I could do this in the oven in a tagine...

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Any thoughts on whether this technique would work with all spelt flour?

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Any thoughts on whether this technique would work with all spelt flour?

It will probably be somewhat denser, but still mighty tasty.

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Any thoughts on whether this technique would work with all spelt flour?

I've done 50/50 spelt/bread flour, and was pushing the envelope with density. Tasted great, but approaching doorstop territory.


Edited by annecros (log)

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Any thoughts on whether this technique would work with all spelt flour?

I made it with all whole-spelt flour, and it turned out well. The flour really sucked up the water, so I ended up with it at 100% hydration to get a dough with a similar feel to my 72-80% hydration ones I'd been making with white flour. The bread didn't have the crackly crust that I got with white flour, but had a nice open crumb for spelt bread, and with not much work.

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Thanks for the responses. I'm going to see what kind of spelt flour I can find and give it a shot - what can I lose?

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Thanks for the responses.  I'm going to see what kind of spelt flour I can find and give it a shot - what can I lose?

You may end up with a heavy but tasty loaf that you'll end up finishing yourself rather than sharing proudly. Not a major problem.

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Thanks for the responses.  I'm going to see what kind of spelt flour I can find and give it a shot - what can I lose?

Maybe a dollar? And in the worst case, you have tasty bread crumbs.

I love this recipe!

:biggrin:

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I pulled off some dough from this batch to use in my next one.  Do I need to do anything special to it before I use it?  And how do I incorporate it in a fresh batch?

I've taken to just making my next batch right away, without cleaning the bowl from the previous. (Anything to avoid cleaning...) By batch #4 it was tasting pretty sourdoughy.

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Our oven spring has been on and off. Any advice would be great from the more experienced bakers out there.

I'm discovering that the key is a long second rise. I've spaced out a couple of times, forgotten and given it three hours or whatever, so there were huge bubbles exuding out of the dough. Dumped it in the pan and baked, got the best loaves yet.

So, to get the major volcano/oven-spring action, with lots of resulting crunchies on top (and the best crumb): long second rise, really big bulbous bubbles showing before you pour it in the hot pan.


Edited by SparrowsFall (log)

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I just made my best loaf yet. I had the pleasure of weighing my ingredients (inaugurating my brand spanking new scale :smile: ). I basically used Bittman's revised printed recipe, but replaced about 1/2 C with whole wheat flour,. That in turn, called for more water, for which I used appearance, not weight. The dough fermented over 18 hours or so, and I gave it a long second rise, about 3 hours, per SparrowsFall. The dough rose well, and got a lot of small bubbles, but never had more than one or two large ones.

Oddly enough, I find that if I use whole wheat flour, then 2 t salt is too much, but if I use 100% white, then it really needs the exra salt. Not sure if that makes sense, but it is what I am finding.

I really like this loaf.

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Thanks for the responses.  I'm going to see what kind of spelt flour I can find and give it a shot - what can I lose?

Maybe a dollar? And in the worst case, you have tasty bread crumbs.

I love this recipe!

:biggrin:

I got some spelt flour today - if it doesn't work it's almost $2! :wink: (that's Canadian dollars though!).

The dough is mixed and I'll bake it tomorrow after work. I was given some advice at the store when I bought the flour - I was told that I could sub the flour cup for cup, but to use only 1/2 the yeast called for in the recipe. When I told him it was only 1/4 tsp., he told me I should be ok :laugh: . I'll report back with results.

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I pulled off some dough from this batch to use in my next one.  Do I need to do anything special to it before I use it?  And how do I incorporate it in a fresh batch?

I've taken to just making my next batch right away, without cleaning the bowl from the previous. (Anything to avoid cleaning...) By batch #4 it was tasting pretty sourdoughy.

That's a good idea.

I've been taking a pinch after the fermentation, feeding it and leaving it on the counter in a crock for the rest of the day. The next morning, I feed and refresh it then mix the dough in the afternoon. I wasn't happy with the results of storing the chef in the fridge overnight, and I am starting to get a nice sour, but am only two loaves in with this. I like the idea of not washing the bowl though. Sounds like my kind of method.

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Thanks for the responses.  I'm going to see what kind of spelt flour I can find and give it a shot - what can I lose?

Maybe a dollar? And in the worst case, you have tasty bread crumbs.

I love this recipe!

:biggrin:

I got some spelt flour today - if it doesn't work it's almost $2! :wink: (that's Canadian dollars though!).

The dough is mixed and I'll bake it tomorrow after work. I was given some advice at the store when I bought the flour - I was told that I could sub the flour cup for cup, but to use only 1/2 the yeast called for in the recipe. When I told him it was only 1/4 tsp., he told me I should be ok :laugh: . I'll report back with results.

Please do. I did a partial sub with spelt, but was subbing rye in at the same time. I love the flavor of spelt, and I've always heard that it benefits from minimal handling.

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annecros--tell me about feeding the dough you saved and how to refresh it, please!! I would love to try this to get a bit more sourness in the bread.

Thanks!

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annecros--tell me about feeding the dough you saved and how to refresh it, please!!  I would love to try this to get a bit more sourness in the bread. 

Thanks!

Oh, it is so standard. Equal portions flour and water. I am sure others here who have more experience with sour doughs will chime in, and I am honestly incredibly inprecise in my cooking! I think this is why this recipe appeals to me on such a gut level.

I pinch off a tablespoon of the ferment before I shape and dump it into a glazed crock that would otherwise be gathering dust on a shelf. 4 tablespoons of flour (been half and half rye/bread flour lately, just because) then because the ferment is stiffer, 6 tablespoons of cold water, stir it up (but casually, so that the dough will not think it is important or something) with a wooden spoon, cover it with the lid and ignore it. The next morning after about two cups of coffee I have the "climb" on the side of the inside of the crock ("they" tell me you look for this, and it sort of looks like refuse on the inside of a milk glass that a teenager has left on the dresser, in all honesty, I think it is where the dough puffed up and then blew out) and the liquid inside is full of tiny bubbles. I dump about a third of it out, go back in with 3 tablespoons of flour and 3 tablespoons of water, stir it nonchalantly while talking to someone else in the room or the TV, cover it with the lid. Ignore it until late afternoon when I make up the next batch of dough. I then dump it into the flour, salt, yeast stir up then add water for a shaggy ball.

I have had much better success recently in proportion to the amount of inattention I pay to the loaf. In fact, I am almost convinced that ignoring it is a vital step in the process.

:biggrin:

Third loaf is cooling now, and fourth crock of goop is being ignored. Will let you know how it comes out.


Edited by annecros (log)

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So, it's all in the attitude!!!! NOW I get it!! I have never made sourdough starters and am unfamiliar with the process. I would love to hear about the results!

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Hmmm.  I wonder if I could do this in the oven in a tagine...

And have you tried the tajine? I thought of that too, a while back, but had this vision of the dough rising inside the cone so that in the end there would be this tajine top-shaped loaf. My tajine wouldn't fit inside the oven anyway. And to handle a hot tajine top, that would be a little tricky. But I'm interested to hear of any experiments.

Miriam

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stir it up (but casually, so that the dough will not think it is important or something) with a wooden spoon, cover it with the lid and ignore it.

What Anne said! Yeah, it's all about attitude. A variation of the old maxim, "never anything mechanical know that you're in a hurry." Ignoring/forgetting and letting the second rise go too long gave me my best results yet.

One of my best buddies who does the sourdough thing comments (only somewhat jokingly) about the codependency relationship he has with the colony on his countertop... Gotta let 'em know who's boss! They have numerical superiority, but we're bigger! And we know how to use tools. Who's at the top of the food chain, after all--them or us?


Edited by SparrowsFall (log)

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I've started keeping logs of all the variations I'm making of this recipe. Latest one was the AP flour/semolina/rye suggested upthread (by whom, I can't remember - blame it on hormonal memory lapse - blame everything on hormones). At any rate, it was good, but a little too moist and heavy for the way I want this bread to be. What did I expect, adding rye, one might ask. True. But I think I'll keep rye flour for the pumpernickels and similar breads.

I am become more and more curious to know how summer weather will change the way we handle this recipe. I've found that allowing the first rise to happen in the fridge makes the bread heavier, even if the second rise occurs at room temperature. But come summertime, my kitchen will be much too hot and the dough would overproof - so either back to the fridge, or keep watching it and discover how many less hours' proof will suffice.

Miriam

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I've started keeping logs of all the variations I'm making of this recipe. Latest one was the AP flour/semolina/rye suggested upthread (by whom, I can't remember - blame it on hormonal memory lapse - blame everything on hormones). At any rate, it was good, but a little too moist and heavy for the way I want this bread to be. What did I expect, adding rye, one might ask. True. But I think I'll keep rye flour for the pumpernickels and similar breads.

I am become more and more curious to know how summer weather will change the way we handle this recipe. I've found that allowing the first rise to happen in the fridge makes the bread heavier, even if the second rise occurs at room temperature. But come summertime, my kitchen will be much too hot and the dough would overproof - so either back to the fridge, or keep watching it and discover how many less hours' proof will suffice.

Miriam

I'm worried about the Summer as well. I have another two months of a pretty consistent high 60s at night and upper 70s during the day, then about March it will get warmer fast and the windows will shut and the air will be on until next October.

My starter on the counter is giving me a nice sour flavor already. Five loaves in, and number six mixed up this afternoon.

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stir it up (but casually, so that the dough will not think it is important or something) with a wooden spoon, cover it with the lid and ignore it.

What Anne said! Yeah, it's all about attitude. A variation of the old maxim, "never anything mechanical know that you're in a hurry." Ignoring/forgetting and letting the second rise go too long gave me my best results yet.

One of my best buddies who does the sourdough thing comments (only somewhat jokingly) about the codependency relationship he has with the colony on his countertop... Gotta let 'em know who's boss! They have numerical superiority, but we're bigger! And we know how to use tools. Who's at the top of the food chain, after all--them or us?

The 'tude has a lot to do with it, I think. The little yeasties seem to get grumpy when you interrupt them with noise and light while they are procreating. Some of the best bakers I know are the most nonchalant.

Now, flowers and vegetables require constant thought and communion. I speak to them regularly...

:biggrin:

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So I tried a rye loaf and a plain-old white. For some reason I have no pictures of the rye, though I remember taking them! You can see a little of the rye in the upper left-hand corner. The rye was a little heavy and moist. But the flavour was great with the added carraway - so I'll try another loaf - I think I may have under-baked it a little.

gallery_25849_641_36508.jpg

Next up was the spelt. I used all 'lite' spelt (that's what they called it at the store). This one was fully baked, cooled overnight before cutting, and was a little heavy. But I liked the flavour - it was great toasted - and I'll definitely try it again. If it means I can have decent bread for toast in the morning I'm willing to keep working on it.

gallery_25849_641_19507.jpg

gallery_25849_641_23894.jpg

Er. What causes the big wholes at the top?

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I was unable to make another after my first, very successful, loaf due to not being around over the last few weekends. (Went to Atlantic City last weekend....luckily did not lose too much money) My plan this weekend is to mix up a dough tonight to start the initial rise (just the regular recipe with added salt). Save some of the dough for future batches. Bake the original off tomorrow night. Add the saved dough to a new batch tomorrow night to bake off on Saturday. Making another batch on Saturday to bake off on Sunday (with taken off dough from the previous one). Does that make sense? Maybe add some WW to the second or the third batch. Will that work? Should have enough bread for Christmas Eve and Christmas day dinners.

I used my LC 5 1/2 qt dutch oven for the first loaf but have recently purchased a Lodge preseasoned 5 qt cast iron that I plan to use now. Should I do anything different?

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