Lentil loaf, or how to rescue a failed experiment
First, the finished loaf with accompaniment (the soup is carrot soup with ginger, from here.
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.
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: