Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I'm off!

Chris and I are headed down to the beach, where we plan to have lobster instead of turkey. Yesss. I hope all of you have happy, healthy, and delicious Thanksgivings!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Bread, again, some more.

Yes, I made the bread again. This recipe has become quite the Internet phenomenon! This time I made some notable changes and the results were worth mentioning.

From Rose, I got the idea to sub 3 Tbsp. of whole wheat flour for an equal amount of white flour. Then I watched the video one more time before they started charging for it, and noticed that Jim Lehey just scoops the flour out with his measuring cup--rather than lightly spooning flour into the cup, as I've been taught to do. Using this method, I am probably using more flour, which left me with a much more manageable dough. I was also much more generous with the flouring of the dough and surfaces. Lastly, I used 1.5 cups of water, as was called for in the video, but not the recipe.

My dough, as I mentioned, was much easier to handle and behaved as it was supposed to. The resulting bread was another triumph and I can't wait to make it again and again and again. Sadly, for this go I was so swept up in the results that I didn't take a picture (horrors!), but it rose more and had a terrific flavor.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Best Bread I've Ever Made.

Sticking my head above the towering pile of freelance work I'm buried under (not that I'm complaining one bit! Yay money!), to tell you to try this recipe. It's weird, and not quite perfect, but it produced the absolute best bread that has ever come out of my oven. Thin, crackling crust, airy, gorgeous crumb, and it's delicious too.

In case the Times decides to start charging for the article after a couple of weeks, here it is. A word of caution: in the accompanying video only 1.5 cups of water is called for, and I think that's what should be used. My dough was beyond loose and shaggy--it was more like trying to handle a thick pancake batter. But still, even though the whole time I was working with it I was sure it wasn't going to work, it was fantastic.

No-Knead Bread
makes one 1.5 pound loaf

Originally published by Mark Bittman in the New York Times
Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery

Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours rising

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt (note: I use a heaping two teaspoons of salt)
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water (very important note: this amount should be 1.5 cups but was misprinted in the Times), and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees (note: 500 degrees works even better). Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.