NYT No-Knead Bread - reviewed

I tried the New York Times' recipe for No-Knead Bread.

Here are the pictures.

Here are my impressions of the bread:

  • I used a little more salt than the recipe called for, and it was just right.

  • The crust is crusty, like a baguette, while also pretty. Puts the 'art' in artisan bread.

  • I put a lot of flour on the towels as it was rising. I also sprinkled corn meal on the top (which became the bottom). I use Bob's Red Mill corn meal and white flour.

  • Let the bread cool for 10 minutes or so after it comes out of the oven. That makes it easier to cut.

I baked the bread in a Dutch Oven (cast iron pot) with a lid. I wonder if that can be used for other bread recipes with the same success? I'm thinking of trying it with some recipes from Beard on Bread.

Here's my tweaked version of the recipe:
Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon salt
Cornmeal as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour and cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. 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 towel 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.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.
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