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.: November 2006 --> No-knead bread

No-knead bread

» Jim Lahey’s No-knead Bread. [Recipe]
 [ 11.09.06 ]



Have you seen this?

I just might bake some bread this weekend.

This recipe works! I'm rather a partisan of Peter Reinhart (The Bread Baker's Apprentice)and this is in some ways the ultimate extension of his methods. (I'm not claiming he "owns" any method; only that I'm most familiar with low-yeast, long-rise methods through his writings). I've talked to two friends about this in the last couple of days and both knew about it and planned to try it; one of them mixed it up while I spoke with her on the phone.

I thought of Brother Peter's methods when I saw this video/recipe, but my reaction was - oh boy, what will Brother Juniper think? Because his breads take so much work. Poolish sponge, rise overnight. Make the dough, rise overnight.

It's been years since I worked with his recipe packet he gave out at a demo, but I remember a lengthy, multi-stage process, with lots of kneading and shaping and fussing. Brother Peter is the one who first demonstrated to me the "window-pane" method of testing dough to see if it has been kneaded enough.

This new method is no work at all. No need to windowpane the dough (stretch it to see if it's translucent)! You can have artisan quality bread, with the fabulous crust, the deep flavor of the long rise (the only common ground with Brother Peter, I think) and the nice texture, without any of the effort the good friar's recipes require.

I didn't believe it either, but the results were simply superb. I then tried it with my old sourdough -- which has been knocking around in one shape or another for over ten years -- and it was even better. Great combination of big holes and small in the crumb. No real improvement over my standard sourdough for taste, but a lot less work.

Sometimes, of course, one needs to knead, but that's another story.

I tried this too and it worked pretty well!

My problem is that I keep my house cool, and the dough would do better at 70-72F than the 65-67F that I prefer.

But this idea is great! I can't wait to try it again (but maybe I'll put the dough next to the furnace or something!)



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