A no-knead boule

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.

* * *

Serve warm with butter, or enjoy with hot soup.

Serve warm with butter, or enjoy with hot soup.

I’m sending this no-knead boule to Susan’s Yeastspotting at Wild Yeast.

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26 Responses to “A no-knead boule”

  1. bee Says:

    ‘the bread that sings’ is apt. it’s gorgeous.

  2. toxobread Says:

    Thanks Bee! Thanks also for picking the theme “crusts” for this month’s Click! I think it’s fantastic.

  3. Susan/Wild Yeast Says:

    When the crust sings you know it’s going to be good. That photo is amazing, a Click contender for sure!

  4. toxobread Says:

    Dear Susan,
    I bet you hear singing crusts all the time in your kitchen! Boy, I can’t wait until your earth oven is completely finished (dried) and ready to go, to see what exciting new projects you’ll bake with it.

  5. Jeff Hertzberg Says:

    I’m Jeff Hertzberg, one of the co-authors of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I’m so glad our recipes are working well for you. Come visit us anytime at http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com, where you can post questions into any “Comments” field, or click on “Bread Questions” on the left side of the homepage and choose among the options.

    Jeff Hertzberg
    http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com

    Chicago tribune video: http://us.macmillan.com/BookCustomPage.aspx?isbn=9780312362911&m_type=2&m_contentid=119255#video

  6. Ari (Baking and Books) Says:

    Gorgeous! This is really an outstanding loaf of bread.

  7. [eatingclub] vancouver || js Says:

    Great-looking boule! I bought the book about three weeks ago and have been working my way through it since. Can’t get the hang of scoring yet though.

    And that is a lovely, lovely crust!

  8. Jude Says:

    Amazing scoring pattern and crust. It’s always fun the crust crackles when pulled from the oven.

  9. Zoe Francois Says:

    What a gorgeous loaf, picture perfect! Thank you so much for trying out the recipes and sharing your fabulous success with your readers.

    Enjoy and happy baking! Zoë François

  10. nags Says:

    that looks so chubby and yummy!

  11. YeastSpotting September 26, 2008 | Wild Yeast Says:

    [...] No-Knead Boule ~ Toxo Bread [...]

  12. Marisol (Once Upon a Plate) Says:

    Absolute Perfection ~ Bravo!

  13. Susy Says:

    That looks so good, I must make one.

  14. Alexthepink Says:

    Beautiful – bready perfection!

  15. Claire Says:

    Gorgeous scoring pattern! I will have to try that on my next boule…

  16. em Says:

    BEAUTIFUL loaf. Almost makes you not want to rip into it and gobble it up, eh? ALMOST. ;)

  17. jugalbandi » CLICK: Crusts. The winners are … Says:

    [...] No-knead boule ~ Toxo Bread [...]

  18. bee Says:

    dear jacqueline,

    there’s something for you at jugalbandi. congratulations!!!

  19. toxobread Says:

    Jeff – thanks for dropping by! Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day is a great book for home bakers in introducing the no-knead technique, and I’ve been having fun with it. I’m also really glad that your website is such a useful online resource.

    Ari – thanks! That means a lot coming from you :) I have a batch of apple-honey challah rising in my kitchen and am excited about trying this variation.

    JS (from [eatingclub] vancouver) – scoring can be tricky at the beginning; I’m still working on my technique. Believe me, this is the ___th boule and one of the few where the scoring worked out. I’ve read that you need a good sharp knife (or a lame, or a coffee stick with a razor blade taped to it) and try to score only once through the loaf. If you do it evenly and carefully enough, you won’t need to re-score a loaf in the same area. Good luck and let me know how it goes!

    Jude – I agree, I love it when the crust crackles!

    Zoe – Thank you so much! and thank you to both you and Jeff for further inspiring the community to bake!

    Nags – haha chubby, yummy and crackly all at the same time. Just the type of crusty bread to go with soup or dip in leftover pasta sauce.

    Marisol – thanks!

    Susy – Good luck with your baking. Let me know how your boule turns out :)

    Alexthepink – mmmm bready anything is perfection haha

    Claire – Thanks! The scallop pattern is a bit harder to bloom evenly because most of the slits open up on one side of the loaf. Have fun! My other favourite ways is to make a # (pound sign, or tic-tac-toe pattern) or even just a simple, single slit across the loaf.

    Em – I really didn’t want to rip into it but then I had a bowl of hot soup and…

    Bee – woohoo! Thanks! Ha ha I love it, winning the “most drool-worthy” badge :D

  20. sunshinemom Says:

    This one doesn’t sing – it rocks!! The pattern looks great!

  21. toxobread Says:

    Sunshinemom – thank you so much. I love the scallop pattern for scoring too!

  22. The most droolworthy « Toxo Bread Says:

    [...] boule’s crust has been declared the most droolworthy. [...]

  23. jugalbandi » SUPERCLICK 2008: The winners … (Part III). Says:

    [...] No-knead boule ~ Toxo Bread [...]

  24. stunned speechless « Toxo Bread Says:

    [...] Remember how the no-knead boule I baked ended up winning the most droolworthy award for September’s Click! at jugalbandi? [...]

  25. Hélène Says:

    Congratulations! This is so great & the Boule is beautiful.

  26. toxobread Says:

    Thank you very much for your kind compliments, Hélène!

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