December 3, 2006

Kneadless To Say

No-Knead BreadKaren had a recipe for “No-Knead Bread” on her blog, and baking freak I am, I had to try it almost immediately.

The results are in!

I made some changes that were not improvements. First, I used too much water; I added 1/4 cup to it because I was afraid it would dry out over the long rise time. Bad idea. It was harder to work with that way. So, if you’re going to try it, use the 1 1/2 cups Karen recommends. I used 1/2 teaspoon of Fleischman’s “Bread Machine” yeast. That seemed right. However, for recipes that are supposed to be slower rising, a regular dry active yeast is probably better. I was all out of my usual SAF-Instant.

No-Knead BreadThe loaf came out very spongy. One and one-quarter teaspoons of kosher salt were not enough flavor for my tastes. I would go with one and a half teaspoons of table salt. Or 1 1/4 of table salt. I think table salt might yield more flavor here because of smaller, more regular crystals.

Also, my choice of “bread machine” yeast may not have allowed for the production of complex flavors that I look for in my favorite breads. So next time I try this I’ll use an active dry yeast, not one of these newfangled bread machine jobbers that are supposed to make bread with one rising. Slower means more flavor, and I can’t seem to pull it off with this yeast.

In short, the verdict is that it was a technical semi-success, but a flavor disappointment because of my modifications. Still, we ate 2/4 of the loaf before it even cooled off. I will be trying a slow-rise recipe again, but I will probably be kneading the dough. Since i use a KitchenAid mixer to do my kneading, it’s not a hardship and only takes 5 minutes or so. Heck, I actually liked kneading when I used to do it by hand, and even by hand it only takes 10 minutes or so.

So, while I don’t really need a no-knead recipe, it was fun and I learned something about bread. Isn’t that what it;s all about in the end?

Continue reading below the fold for the lyrics to Aha’s new hit song about baking.

“Bake For Me” (To the tune of “Take On Me” by Aha)

Mixing away
I don’t know what I’m to make
I’ll make it anyway
this recipe I bake is quite new
Rising away
I’ll be hoping it comes out O.K.

Bake for me
Bake me for
It’ll be done
in a day or two

So kneadless to say I’m letting it rise for
All day, bubbling away
Slowly growing to twice its own space
Not too much yeast
It’s not better to be in a hurry.

Bake for me
Bake me for
It’ll be done
in a day or two

The yeast that I take
Is it alive just not awake
I worry all day
But worry is bad I’ve got to remember
Relaxed you should stay
You’ll be baking in a better way

Bake for me
Bake me for
It’ll be done
in a day or two

Posted by James at December 3, 2006 9:40 PM
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Baking Queen Rose Levy Beranbaum has an interesting discussion of this bread, along with a scientific analysis of the flour/water ratio:

Posted by: Karen at December 4, 2006 8:00 AM

It was really, really spongy and flavorless. The only reason we ate as much as we did was because we were dipping it in oil and spices, and we were hungry. :-P

Posted by: Maggie at December 4, 2006 10:25 AM

Well, it looks nice. I guess you can make the leftover into meatloaf.

Posted by: Julie at December 4, 2006 10:52 AM

Thanks for that link, Karen. Some great advice there. I'm going to add her book to my wishlist.

Posted by: James at December 4, 2006 11:59 AM

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