The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Lentil loaf, or how to rescue a failed experiment

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Lentil loaf, or how to rescue a failed experiment

First, the finished loaf with accompaniment (the soup is carrot soup with ginger, from here.

The finished loaf next to its accompaniments.  That's carrot soup!

Onto the process.  So, I set out Wednesday night to mix a batch of NYT no-knead bread, the recipe that I've been playing around with lately.  I decided to do things quite a bit differently; since my last, all bread flour no-knead loaf turned out pretty chewy, I figured I could lower the gluten content.  Rather than switching to AP, I kept it at bread flour and just changed a high percentage to lentil flour.  Turns out I stretched a bit too far.

Initial Mix:

215 g KA bread flour

130 g lentil flour (ground in my nutrimill from brown lentils)

30 g rye flakes

30 g barley flakes

25 g wheat germ

360 g water

1/4 tsp yeast

5/4 tsp salt


This sat at room temp overnight.  About 18-hours later, I went to do a stretch and fold and . . . the dough didn't stretch.  Rather, it broke apart. Clearly I didn't have enough gluten to perform the no-knead method.  I took a long look at my dough, and I decided that, while it was earnest, and eager, it just didn't have what it takes to be a no-knead loaf - lots of gluten.  But that's ok!  Because I could rebuild it.  Make it stronger, faster, uh . . drier!  An enriched loaf, with butter and honey and kneading!


But I didn't have time to do that, so I stuck the dough in the fridge.

This morning I took the dough out of the fridge in anticipation of the days events.  I didn't feel like waiting around 2 hours for the dough to warm to room temperature, so I looked around my kitchen for help and found . . . the microwave!

And I don't mean putting a cup of warm water in with the dough.  Rather, I put the dough in the microwave, set it to power level 3 out of 10, and zapped it for 5-10 minutes, stopping periodically to take its temperature.  Once most of it was between 70 and 80 F, I decided that it was warm enough to add:

1.5 Tb melted butter
3 Tb honey
2 tsp yeast
60 g bread flour

I mixed all this in and kneaded for about 5 minutes, adding a fair bit of extra flour in the process - probably another 10-15 grams.  After the gluten was developed enough to get a mediocre windowpane, I gave it a 5-minute rest, kneaded another few minutes, and called it good.

The result?  It was a monster!  About doubled in size in 40 minutes.  So I divided it into two loaves, formed one into a batard, and the other into an epi.  Preheated my oven with baking stone to 450.  After 30 minutes they hadn't risen too much but seemed proofed, so I put them in the oven anyway; I try to err on the side of under, rather than over, proofing.

After a bit of cooling I tore off a chunk of epi and the crumb was dense, but not brick-like; still soft and chewy.  And the flavor was delicious and more complex than anything I've made thus far.  I'll definitely be trying to duplicate the flavor again, but maybe in a less crazy way next time.

Here's a close-up shot of the crumb:

Crumb shot!