Sunday, February 15

Bread-making results: the jury considers the merits of squatty loaves

Here are the results of my first two attempts at no-knead breadmaking.
Ken LOVED 'em because they were chewy and squat which reminded him of the bread he ate everyday while living in Greece and Cyprus. He urged me not to change a thing.

I thought the taste and texture were fab, but I was hoping for a taller loaf, like Jane's. What did I miss? Did I not knead it quite enough between the two risings? I am using regular yeast; is that the same as instant yeast (I think it is).

My first two loaves were baked at 500 degrees per the NY Times recipe, but they came out way too dark. The third was done at 450 degrees per Melody Johnson's variation, and I was happier with that crust.

Today, I am trying Jane's Almost No-Knead Bread recipe from Cooks Illustrated. After just poking around a bit more, I found this recipe which produces a loaf that came out looking squat just like mine. That makes me feel a bit more on target - haha!

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  1. You made true Artisan looking bread! Good job! Looks delish to me. I hope you like the Almost No Knead recipe. If you follow the recipe really faithfully, you should get a taller loaf. I think it's the beer and vinegar or something. The rising in a frying pan on a piece of parchment paper is really good. So easy to transfer it to the baking vessel! I have been using Instant Yeast in my attempts:) Now I'm waiting for a baking stone to arrive from so I can try making a baguette shaped loaf. I bought the book "Artisan Bread in Five MInutes a Day" which doesn't use the Dutch oven to bake in. Who knew that this whole bread thing could be so addictive ? Now it's getting expensive with me building a collection of bread baking specific toys!! While the eating of the bread is great, I am loving the process component!

  2. I skipped the second raising on Melody's recipe and popped it right in the oven after raising for the 18 hours. It was tall and the crust was crunchy and very yummy. I tried adding some fresh basil to the recipe in the water, which was not my best idea ever.

  3. You should take a look at Nancy Baggett's kneadlessly simple bread book. It is loaded with different no knead bread recipes. She even has a website with a recipe archives, so you can try out some of her recipes. Happy Baking!