Bike Ride on 11/17/2007

I took a little bike ride around PDX last Saturday.

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I wanted to test out my Garmin GPS

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James Beard's White Free-form Loaf

Here's another experiment taking some of my favorite bread recipes and baking them the NYT "No Knead" way. This involves baking them in a dutch oven that's been preheated to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Here's the recipe for White Free-form Loaf from James Beard’s Beard on Bread.
First, the sponge...
2 packages active dry yeast
½ cup warm water
2 cups flour
1 cup water

You can make this as a sponge and let sit for an hour, or a day.
The bread will have more lightness if it sits for a day.
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup buttermilk or yogurt
2 cups flour plus some for mixing in while kneading
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Cornmeal to cover the bottom of the dutch oven.

Normally the recipe is to bake this at 375 for about an hour. But, I did the No Knead method in a dutch oven. I baked at 450, 30 minutes covered, and about 25 minutes uncovered. Prior to baking I pre-heated the oven for 30 minutes with the dutch oven in it. That way the dutch oven was hot!

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William Melville Child’s Health Bread

In a previous post I wrote about the New York Times "No-Knead" bread.
The bread had a marvelous crust, which seemed to be due to cooking it in a dutch oven.

As an experiment, I'm trying some other breads that I've made in the past and baking them according to the NYT No-Knead recipe.

Here's William Melville Child’s Health Bread from James Beard’s Beard on Bread.
The recipe calls for:
2 packages active dry yeast
¾ cup warm milk
1 tsp sugar
2 ¼ cups boiling water
2 cups quick oats
3 ½ cups whole-wheat four
¾ cup dark molasses
1 ½ tablespoons butter (melted)
1 tablespoon salt
3 ½ cups all purpose flour

In the recipe he says that William Melville Child recommends grinding your own whole wheat flour. I used Bob's Red Mill whole wheat.

Since I was short on molasses I filled out the cup with dark brown sugar, which offset the whole wheat very nicely.

Instead of baking at 350 for one hour, I did the NYT method:
At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- quart cast iron pot in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under bread and plop into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

The result? A nice, dense whole wheat bread that will last about a week without drying out. The crust, while crunchy, wasn't as exciting as the white No Knead bread. Whole-wheat sucks up a lot more liquid than white flour, so I think that there was less steam in the dutch oven to give it the pleasing crust. Also, the whole wheat is denser than white, so the difference between the crust and the crumb wasn't as distinctive.

Next time I try this bread maybe I'll reduce the amount of whole-wheat flour by 1 cup.
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