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February 19, 2011
Apart from the eating, kneading is my favorite part of making bread, so I've paid just about no attention to no-knead recipes. But a friend of a friend was trying to make no-knead bread according to a recipe in the online New York Times and it wasn't coming out right. Friend told friend of friend to call me, and yesterday he did.
Based on what he told me, I had a couple of ideas about what might be going wrong, but of course I had to try the recipe myself. Here's the online video version. I was so skeptical that 1/4 teaspoon of active dry yeast would do the job that I used a full teaspoon.
Friend of friend kept winding up with batter rather than dough, so I started with one cup of warm water, rather than the cup and a half called for in the video. I added the next quarter cup slowly -- and that turned out to be enough, maybe even a little too much: as I mixed the water into the flour, salt, and yeast, I sprinkled in a little more flour. The result was sticky, but it was definitely dough, not batter.
I covered the bowl with a towel and left it out on the counter overnight, about 12 hours. After Trav and I got back from our morning walk, the dough had pretty much "doubled in bulk," as the standard recipes like to say.
So I pre-heated my oven to 500 degrees F and put my cast-iron casserole dish in there to pre-heat too. I bought the casserole when I moved into this apartment four years ago, but I'd never used it: I'm just cooking for me, but I usually make four to six servings of anything at a time, and this casserole dish is just too small.
It proved perfect for my no-knead bread, however. The bread turned out great. Proof of the bread is in the eating, but since we're in the virtual world a picture will have to do.