Sunday, May 22, 2011

Taste & Create: No Knead Bread

Taste & Create is a fabulously fun food blog event created by my friend Nicole, of For the Love of Food. Participants are randomly paired off, and you have to make something from your partner's blog. Easy and super fun! Sign up and tell all your friends!

Go here to find out how to sign up, by the 8th of each month.

My partner this month is Gerry of Foodness Gracious. I have to say I love that blog name!! After perusing his blog again and again, I was really tempted by his Buffalo Chicken Wraps. I WILL make them. But for now, being a huge fan of Artisan Bread 5-minutes-a-day method, I decided to try his No-Knead Bread as a comparison.

I will say that the Artisan Bread is much easier, and has the advantage of making a big batch of dough all at once and storing it in the refrigerator. The No-Knead Bread has a lot more rising time (12-18 hours and then 15 minutes and then 2 hours) compared to the Artisan Bread's time (3 to 5 hours, then 40 minutes each loaf). I also typically get a lot more rise out of the Artisan Bread. I don't think the No-Knead dough even doubled. Mine certainly didn't press against the plastic wrap like Gerry's did.

There are also less steps to the Artisan Bread, just measure & mix, let rise, quickly form and rise, then bake. With this No-Knead Bread, you measure & mix, let rise (for more than double the amount of time), then flour and rise, then cornmeal and rise, prep the baking dish, and finally bake. I am hoping to get a decent loaf that is worth the extra effort! (including laundry)

I have a similar-to-Le-Creuset enameled cast iron pot, and although I was worried it might be too big, that is what I decided to use. *Glad I did, because I went to the original post and found the required pot size to be 6-8 quart.*

So. I baked the bread. It looked promising. I wish I had listened to my instincts and used Kosher salt, instead of plain sea salt. Or maybe more salt. The bread looks good, but it ends up being covered in cornmeal. I don't mind cornmeal on the bottom that mostly gets tapped off, but cornmeal almost everywhere is a bit gritty for my taste.

The problem for me is that I'm comparing this loaf to my consistently fabulous Artisan bread loaves. The flavor of this bread just doesn't compare. And then there's the texture of the cornmeal overall, it's just too much. This bread has promise, and it's a decent, crusty loaf with a great consistency and crumb, but it's just not very flavorful. Factor in the huge amount of time (inactive time, but time all the same) and I'm just not convinced it's worth it for me, especially when it gives me two more towels that need to be washed.

*This is not to say that you won't see me eating this entire loaf of bread, on my own if I have to. I said it was decent and crusty, I didn't say it was bad...

A bread that creates its own laundry needs to be spectacular...and I'm sad to say this loaf wasn't.

So please, you try it if you'd like to. Use Kosher salt, or more salt, less cornmeal, figure it out. Lots of people love this bread, and I have nothing against them. I simply prefer mine. And you should try my favorite recipe too. Let me know what you think!

And Gerry, I'll definitely be back for those Buffalo Chicken Wraps!!

No-Knead Bread
(you can see Gerry's recipe here, attributed to The Amateur Gourmet)

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups of warm water (I used a bit more, TAG suggests 1 5/8 cups)

Mix all the dry stuff into a large size bowl (with room to rise) and then add the water and mix roughly with your hands. (I used my dough whisk). Cover with plastic wrap and leave for at least 12 hours or more if you can. (mine did not rise as much as I expected)

After that, turn out the dough onto a well-floured work surface and roughly turn into itself to form a ball, cover (I used same plastic wrap) and let rest for 15 minutes.

Spread a clean towel with cornmeal and sit the dough on top. More cornmeal for the top of the dough and another towel to cover. Leave for another two hours.

Meanwhile 30 minutes before the two hour mark, turn on the oven to 450 degrees F and put in your 6-8 quart Dutch oven/Pyrex/ceramic dish and lid and let it get hot in the last 30 minutes. (Gerry used the ceramic inside part of a crock pot; I used my enameled cast iron Dutch oven, similar to Le Creuset). At 2 hours pull out the dish and plop the dough in, lid goes back on and in the oven for 30 minutes. Take of the lid and bake for another 20 - 30 minutes until nice and golden.

Remove to a rack and let it rest for at least 30 minutes, then enjoy.


Torviewtoronto said...

this looks wonderfully delicious

Shelby said...

I haven't made the no knead bread myself either. Those buffalo chicken wraps look yummy too!

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