Monday, August 25, 2008

no-knead bread

I had long wanted to try making No-Knead Bread. All accounts said it was foolproof and easy, and consistently generated great bread. However, you needed a piece of equipment I did not have, which was a 5-quart cast iron dutch oven (or some other similarly sized pot that was heat-proof to 450 degrees F). Buying a new (somewhat costly) piece for a single untested recipe was not in my budget so I spent a lot of time investigating cheaper options, such as budget cast iron, pyrex and anodized aluminum pots, but I never ended up buying anything.

Yesterday, P’s aunt gave me a piece of enameled Dansk Bistroware – a 2 ½ quart casserole that I thought might be suitable. So I set to work making the dough. I halved the recipe to account for the smaller sized piece (I had read where others had done this with no problem). However, the dough didn’t really behave as the recipe said it would, and I’m not accustomed to working with such wet slack dough. There was absolutely no “[nudging] it into a ball shape.” It was a puddle of wet yeasty goo. It looked great, but stuck horribly to the floured towel, and deflated completely when the time came to transfer it to the preheated dish. The finished bread was just a flat (but pleasingly crispy) gummy (no matter how long I cooked it, I couldn’t get the inside temp above 205 degrees) hockey puck. Argh.

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