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New Tricks - No-Knead Bread 2.0 (Cook's Illustrated)

ChiliDude | Jan 20, 2008 10:31 AM

I just finished baking my 3rd loaf of rye bread. It's cooling for the suggested 2 hours before being sliced.

This time the 2nd rise was done using a rectangular loaf pan into which the aluminum foil was inserted before the slightly kneaded dough was added. The aluminum foil was the same piece that was used for the previous 2 loaves. When one is retired, one becomes more frugal (not stingy, just money wise).

Another trick...I was having trouble scoring the raised dough with either a razor or sharp knife. This time I oiled the 2 cutting edges of a pair of kitchen shears and cut the scores into the dough. Much better success than with razor or knife. Dough did not stick to the shears because of the oil.

This time the baking was done in an old-fashioned white-spotted, blue enameled, oval roasting pan that was preheated just as instructed in the CI issue. The pan has a cover and was baked in the usual manner.

The recipe? Oh, you want the recipe? Here's the ingredient list

20 ounces of bread flour
Briefly7 ounces of rye flour
3/4 teaspoon of rapid rise yeast (expiration date 20Oct2006...yes, it's alive and works!)
1/2 capsule of Vitamin C (~ 250 mg)
2 Tablespoons semolina (also old stuff...optional)
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
3 Tablespoons caraway seeds (È una cosa ebrea.)
about 2 Tbs. molasses in liquid measuring cup
water added to measuring cup to make a total of 1/2 cup
12 ounces lager beer (usually one bottle)

Mix all the dry ingredients in a glass or ceramic bowl. Add the wet ingredients. Stir until well mixed (I use a spatula, nothing mechanical or electric...that's no fun.). Cover the bowl and allow the dough to ferment for 18 hours.

Pour fermented dough out on a floured working surface (here I use unbleached all-purpose flour). The dough will be sticky, mostly due to the rye flour. Knead the dough, adding more bench flour as needed, until the dough is less sticky.

If you are going to use a Dutch oven in which to bake, line a 10" skillet with enough no-stick aluminum foil so that the foil can be lifted and placed in HOT preheated Dutch oven. Place dough in foil, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven with a covered Dutch oven in it to 450 degrees. Make sure that the rack upon which the Dutch oven will sit is not at the lowest level (to prevent a burnt bottom of the loaf). When oven temperature has reached 450, score the risen dough with either a very sharp knife or razor blade OR USE MY TRICK given above.

Briefly take the Dutch oven out of oven chamber WITH POT HOLDERS OR OVEN MITTS and place it on the cooktop. Remove the cover and place it on the cooktop. Lift the scored dough out of the skillet by grasping the aluminum foil and place the dough in the Dutch oven, replace the cover. Put the Dutch oven back in the baking chamber (oven).

Bake covered for 30 minutes. Uncover the Dutch oven and allow the loaf to bake for another 12 minutes. Remove the Dutch oven to the cooktop. Take the baked loaf out of the Dutch oven and place it on a cooling rack. Remove the loaf from the aluminum foil. Allow to cool for at least 2 hours. (The first time I baked bread this way I did not remove the loaf from the foil and the bottom of loaf had condensation on it. Additional cooling was needed.)

NOTE: I buy my yeast at BJs. It comes vaccuum packed in 2 one-pound packages. After opening a package, the yeast is poured into a recycled glass tomato sauce jar and refrigerated. The 2 pounds of yeast cost less $3.69 the last time I bought it. Compare that to the cost of a strip of 3 envelopes.

NOTE: The semolina is also stored in a recycled glass tomato sauce jar.

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