Thougts on the NYT no knead bread
These are my notes from my 4th NK bread.
1 C whole wheat flour
2 C unbleached all purpose flour
¼ t rapid yeast – Fleischmann’s
1 ½ t coarse sea salt
2 t Demerara sugar dissolved in:
1 ½ C tepid water
Dry ingredients were mixed together in a stainless steel bowl. Sugared water was mixed in and an additional tablespoon of water was used to get a damp cohesive but not shaggy mixture. The surface looked dry so I sprayed it lightly with room temperature water. The finished sponge was transferred to a lightly oiled stainless steel bowl and covered with plastic wrap.
The sponge was then placed in a cold (70F) oven, the light was turned on and the oven soon got to about 80F. Between the 3rd and 4th hour bubbles began to form on the surface.
Removed the sponge from the oven after five hours. A nice population of small to medium sized bubbles had formed and the sponge had increased in size by at least 50%.
It will rest overnight on a rack in a 70F kitchen.
After the 7th hour I tilted the bowl and saw strings of gluten pulling away from the sides of the bowl. A good sign.
20th hour – the top of the sponge was covered in small bubbles. I turned the sponge out of the bowl onto floured counter top. It released cleanly leaving practically no dough stuck to the oiled bowl. This dough was easily handled with a board knife and floured hands. Folded twice, turned, folded twice more. A total of six folds in sets of two. Placed on parchment paper and shaped to rustic loaf shape to fit the Corning Stoneware baker. Covered with plastic wrap.
Proofed for 2 hours.
Preheated oven to 500F with the lidded stoneware in the oven.
Turned the loaf into the stoneware and into the oven with the lid on. Reduced heat to 450F and set the timer for 30 minutes. No slashing, no water spray, no oil in the stoneware.
After 30 minutes I removed the lid and turned the baker a quarter turn. Set the timer for 20 minutes. Another quarter turn at 10 minutes, second quarter turn at the 20 minute mark. Internal temperature at this point was just over 200F. Set timer for 5 minutes, reading after 5 minutes was 205F. Loaf was completely browned with a few darker spots.
The loaf did not sing when put on the cooling rack. No burning on the bottom nor did the loaf stick to the stoneware. The loaf gave a nice hollow drum sound when tapped on the top and bottom.
Crust is rustic style, not too thick; the crumb is nicely moist not damp, lots of medium to large holes. The taste is great; the whole wheat comes through however it is bordering on salty, which many people have noticed when whole wheat flour is used.
Some final thoughts:
I have no idea where Jim and Mark got this silly idea about using towels. Parchment paper and plastic wrap is the sensible way to go.
Get an oven thermometer. Oven thermostats are notoriously inaccurate. This is why you are burning/underbaking your bread. $5.00 solves this problem.
Get an instant read thermometer. Bake your bread to 200F minimum, 210F preferred and any issues with soggy or wet crumb will be corrected.
Experiment. A loaf costs about a dollar. The worst that can happen is you have a dollar's worth of bread crumbs.
My next loaf will incorporate Red River Cereal, some milk to replace some of the water, and some melted butter in place of sugar. It could be great, it could be not so great, and it could end up in the processor and become really great breadcrumbs. In any case I will learn something.
And may God bless Jim Lehay; I haven’t bought a loaf of bread in weeks. And what could bring more joy than to reach into the oven and bring forth your absolutely first ever homemade with your own hands loaf of bread? Other than a perfect dry martini, I can’t think of much that would.
No idea how to insert images so any help would be appreciated.