The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Kizzle from Colorado, and Coming of Age to Baking Bread...

Kizzle's picture

Kizzle from Colorado, and Coming of Age to Baking Bread...

Hello all!

I'm in my 50's and new to bread baking. My mom made YUMMY bread when I was little, with at least 2 punch downs (I always got to poke the bowl), but the one time I tried to make bread on my own, back in 1990, it came out hard as a rock, with a crust like plate steel. I decided to stick to store-bought...

While surfing the Web, looking for cookie recipes for cast iron baking pans, I tripped across the "No-Knead Bread" phenomenon from the NY Times. Having always believed that my one sorry attempt to make bread was tied to poor kneading, I was intrigued.

After watching at least a half dozen YouTube videos demonstrating the ease and success of the process, and having lurked in a few forums (including this one), trying to pick up tips and confidence, I tried making a loaf a couple of weekends ago. You would think I was preparing for a military invasion of some foreign country, with the prep and set up. I'm not a great cook, with my Microwave being my most trusted kitchen tool, and package mixes providing the foundation of most "from scratch" cooking.

So, with my kitchen table resembling a cooking show demonstration, I tackled my first no-knead loaf. I weighed my flour, I carefully measured my water and salt. I threw it all in a bowl, gave it the merest perfunctory mixing into a shaggy mess, covered it, and ignored it for 18 hours. That's not really accurate, because I couldn't ignore it. I was obsessed with it. Concerned that the house wasn't warm enough, I put it in the oven, with the light on. Then, concerned that the oven might get too warm with the light on, I opened the oven door. Then concerned that I was negating the whole reason for putting the stupid dough in the oven in the first place, I closed the door, and then after another half hour, turned the light off, and told the dough it was on its own for the next 14-15 hours...

The next morning, the bowl looked just like the videos. A GOOD sign in my book. I carefully put the dough on the table, and gently folded it like a letter, and then tucked in the ends, and put it in a teflon pot to rise, hoping that would prevent sticking. I couldn't get to my Dutch oven, stored under the house with the camping equipment, so I used a beautiful 1.5 qt. Nambe cassarole I was given decades ago, and never really found a use for. Heated it in the oven, popped the top, and flipped the dough out of the teflon pot. A bit stuck at the end, so the pretty "skin" ended up on the side, so I didn't slice the top. After closing the oven door, I realized that I had not greased the pan. Panic! Imagining the need for a jackhammer to get the loaf out of the pan, I went to the 'Net, to find the best way to separate pan from bread when I would take it out in 45 minutes...

I was surprised and reassured to find a discussion on a forum, where the poster was reassured that No-Knead bread was baked at such a high temperature, that a "screaming hot" pan would not stick to the dough..."We'll see," I thought.

And darned if it didn't work out! At the end of 30 minutes, I removed the lid, and it looked like bread. REAL bread. Not having scored the top, though, I had a giant bubble in the center, that was turning very dark. I pulled the loaf out at 45 minutes, and like every other novice, was unable to let it sit for an hour to cool. I think we made it to 20 minutes.  Yeah, it was little heavy (one of the few times I may need to adjust for High Altitude), and it was a bit bland, with nothing but flour, water, and a bit of salt, but it had an edible crust, and I made it, not the store!

So, here I am, another of the legion of bread bakers, come to join you to learn more about this seemingly basic and simple, yet wondrously complex and varied thing that humans have been eating for centuries. I know I'll never, ever, be able to duplicate the bread my Momma used to make, but hopefully, I will learn and understand how to make my own memorable loaves. I have a loooooong was to go, though, and LOTS of yeast and flour to experiment with!

Nice to join you all!


SylviaH's picture

Hello and Welcome to TFL, Kizzle

Sylvia in San Diego, CA

dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Kizzle.

Welcome to TFL!

Stick around. Read the lessons. Try some of the recipes others have posted. Ask questions.

You will be making wonderful breads before you know it.