Sunday, February 1, 2009

Bread: I needed no-knead, you need no-knead too.

I was recently sent, by my friend Margaret, the no-knead bread recipe. She posted it as a comment at the bottom of my Cake in five minutes posting.

Last week when I my foot was in a cast, I had a bread shortage. I'd run out of bread at home. I did go out to do some food shopping, but my preferred bakery is down some stairs I did not then want to navigate, and I wasn't desperate enough to buy supermarket bread. Cooking while in my cast was difficult because you typically do things standing, and require both feet to stabilise and support. That would be particularly true if you were to knead bread. So all in all, it seemed like the perfect occasion to try bread that only required stirring and patience. "I need no-knead" was the slogan du jour.

Of course I have great difficulty following a recipe exactly. I made one deliberate modification (one-third whole-wheat flour, instead of all white) and one accidental (1 7/8 c water instead of 1 5/8 c water). My dough was too runny, which made it very hard almost impossible to handle in the final rising and shaping stage. I was scraping little pieces of dough off the tea-towel and off my hands into the pan.

However - if you like crust, this bread is for you. The crust on my bread was 2-3mm thick. The bread had a very nice flavour, in part from the finely milled cornmeal I used to help with the dough-handling; the bread reminded me a little of the Portuguese corn bread you can buy here. The crust made it hard to slice... but it was delicious.

I made it a second time, this time a half-batch to avoid having stale bread with impenetrable crust. (Slicing said bread is another accident waiting to happen.) I guess this time I under-measured my water because the dough was very stiff, hard to stir together. I also used a bit of wheat germ in the dough. It all sorted itself out in rising. Again I ended up with a well-flavoured bread with outstanding crust.

I made the first batch in a Corelle "French white" casserole, which was too large so I had a low wide loaf. The second time I used a smaller (souffle-sized?) ceramic casserole, which was again too large so I had another low wide (but this time round) loaf. I suppose a low squat loaf has proportionally more crust?

Let them eat bread.

1 comment:

Mark Reynolds said...

Hey, are you going to write up your last Euro-visit?