Sunday, July 20, 2008

No-Knead Bread

I've been intrigued by this recipe for no-knead bread for a while and finally dove in several days ago. I'm using a variation from Cook's Illustrated which adds a little beer and vinegar to give it more flavor.

My first two tries were off. The first came out very, very flat. The second came out flat. Both versions had very thick crusts instead of the thin crispy one that the recipe works to achieve. After some though, I diagnosed the problem thusly: I had added additional flour after the long first rise because of how very wet the dough was, and I think by adding in the flour I had defeated the purpose of the long rise. Plus the new flour didn't have any time to take on the magic yeasty qualities. That's the technical term, by the way. Yeasty qualities.

This time, things went a lot better.

Instead of the 3 cups of flour, I started off with 3 1/4 so that I wouldn't have to add any additional after the first long rise. It was still a bit wetter than I think it should be, and I'm currently letting a 3 1/2 cup version rise tonight. But not having to add any additional flour meant that it got very little handling and it rose much higher than the previous versions. The crust was much thinner and crispier, and the interior had more bubbles and lightness. Stewart declared it "delicious." I was very proud of it and it's such an easy recipe to add to the repertoire. Definitely try it.

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