I have been working with the Cook's Magazine "Almost No Knead" recipe, which seems pretty slick to me. Trouble is, after baking the recipe a number of times, I feel there is an either/or issue resolving hydration vs rise and shape stability. I do my second rise on a parchment sheet lowered into a bowl (boule?) shaped like the rounded loaf I hope for. When the second rise is complete, I remove the parchment sling, slash the loaf, then lower it into the 6 quart dutch oven for baking. The loaf is about an inch less in diameter than the pot.
Now for the tragic outcome: The loaf subsides into something like a very thick Frisbee. It springs pretty well and the interior is uniformly holey. Tastes great. But.... I'd like a nice upstanding loaf that is a good deal rounder. I don't want a basketball, but should I reduce the hydration to make a stiffer dough? Is there just something inherent in the no knead regieme that makes a more slack dough? Anyone have strategies for "stiffening the spine" of my boules without giving up their nice moist chewiness?
Thanks for your ideas.