Click! September 2008 – Crusts hosted by Jugalbandi
The crust crackled as I took it out of the oven. What’s not to like about a bread that sings?
This loaf was made using the master no-knead dough recipe described by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François in their book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. You can also view detailed instructions in the links at the very bottom of the post. My only comments are:
- I used four day-old dough. As Jeff and Zoë have noted in their book, you can use the dough right after the initial 2 hour rise at room temperature, but the flavour really develops after you’ve left the dough sit in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
- You may want to adjust the amount of salt depending on your preferences, but salt IS needed. Don’t leave it out or your yeast will go crazy.
- Minimal handling of the dough when it comes out of the refrigerator is key to getting good air bubbles in your crumb (inside of the loaf). Otherwise you might deflate many of the bubbles if you are too rough with the dough.
- There are many ways to score a boule. In this case, I scored it in a scallop-type pattern.
- I used very little cornmeal on the bottom of the loaf, and baked it on a sheet of parchment paper in my magic bowl for steam and helping promote good oven spring. It’s an alternative to pouring a cup of hot water / throwing ice cubes into a baking pan in your oven trick.
- Use a baking stone if you have one (I don’t). Oh, and just to clarify, if you are using a baking stone, don’t put the magic bowl on top…
I took this photo using my trusty Olympus C740 Ultra Zoom. It’s not an SLR. In fact, I barely tweak the settings and usually point-and-shoot. The maximum resolution is 3.2 megapixels, but I love it and it is always by my side as I’m cooking and baking. It’s my sidekick in every way except for the fact that it can’t wash the dirty bowls and dishes afterwards. Too bad, huh?
What the photo doesn’t show you is that my oven mitted-left hand is cradling a blistering burn-your-skin hot Pyrex bowl over a mat, and I’m sitting in my PJs close to the kitchen window where I can make the most of natural light. So there you have it: the secrets to Jackie’s photography. The PJs are a must.
For more about no-knead bread:
Watch a video of Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François demonstrating the master recipe on their website, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Their website also has several Q&A pages, and both Jeff and Zoë have been fabulous in troubleshooting and providing helpful suggestions. Check it out!
Read an article about Simple Crusty Bread in the New York Times.
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