Questions about No Knead Bread
I've been making the NKB for a while, and have some questions about it. Although I've tried several times in the past to bake my own bread, this recipe works for me much better than any other ever has.
I use the recipe from Breadtopia (2 cups AP, 1 cup WWW, 1 1/2 cups spring water, 1/4 tsp yeast, salt) with the addition of 1 tbsp golden molasses because I love the flavor. I use KA or Bob's Red Mill flour, and weigh everything. The first rise is overnight, and the house temp probably drops into the high 50s. (We don't keep a warm house.) The dough is soft, slack, and sticky, but cleans the bowl. I fold it in the bowl a few times. I bake the bread in a loaf-shaped clay baker starting with a cold oven. I bake to an internal temp of 200 - can't get much hotter than that because I am at 5400 feet.
I get beautiful thin crackly singing crust, delicious flavor, but not much ovenrise. I get small to medium holes and a moist interior.
The baker is the size of a 9" loaf pan. The dough fills the pan to about halfway, and proofs to just under the pan rim. The finished loaf comes out about 2-3 inches high - just over the pan rim.
For this amount of dough, is this the highest I should expect the dough to rise?
I have been doing a series of timing experiments, and it doesn't matter much whether the first rise is 10 hours or 18 - the loaf is pretty much the same. I switched from active dry yeast to rapid rising, the loaf is pretty much the same. One hour or two for the proof, the loaf is pretty much the same. Whether the proof is at room temp - 65 degrees or so - or in the oven with the light on, the loaf is pretty much the same. The first slice cut after half an hour or two hours later, the loaf is pretty much the same.
So at least I'm consistent. But it really seems to me that the loaf should rise more. Or is the pan a bit large for this amount of dough? The finished loaf weighs 1 1/2 pounds. If the issue is using a cold oven, I am happy to trade the low rise for the crust and not having to deal with a very hot and heavy dutch oven. But if I can get more rise, I'd love to know how!
A related question - why does the original recipe call for rapid rise or instant yeast? Seems counter-intuitive to me, given that NKB relies on a long rising time.
Thanks for any hints!