The following text refers to the article in the Jan/Feb issue of Cook's Illustrated.
I baked a loaf of bread on Friday, 14Dec07 using the instructions in the article with some variations. I like this method much better than the one published in the NYTimes over a year ago. Getting the very loose dough into a 500-degree heated Dutch oven was much easier.
I used bread flour instead of all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon of instant yeast instead of just 1/4 because the yeast expiration date has come and gone, and I eye-balled the amount of honey suggested in the optional whole wheat flour substitution. The dough was allowed to ferment for the suggested 18 hours.
The loaf that resulted was rustic looking and tasted good, but the bottom was burnt.
BTW, altho I did not proof the yeast as I usually do, I never discard yeast because of the expiration date has elapsed. One snowbound day several years ago I baked 2 beautiful loaves of Italian bread with yeast that was 4 years past the expiration date after proofing the yeast before getting started. My wife, who is leery of my creations, almost demolished one loaf at one sitting.
I will try this method and recipe again in a while from now.
Mistakes to be corrected next time...
I used a uncoated cast iron Dutch oven because I do not have one of those expensive enameled ones. Preheating the Dutch oven caused smoke because it was seasoned with oil. Mea culpa...didn't think of smoking oil. The kitchen fan took care of the smoke. I have a 5-qt. Vision Ware Dutch oven that will be used instead of the cast iron one.
I will try Release aluminum foil instead of parchment paper because it will take the shape of the 10" cast iron skillet better than does the paper for the second rise. I've successfully used that foil when baking rolls using a bread dough recipe. Plus I've used the same piece of foil more than a dozen times without any of the rolls sticking.
The oven rack will be raised a little higher than the bottom level which was suggested by the CI article. I'm hoping that the bottom of the loaf will not be burned the next time.
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