Revisiting NKB from Jim Lahey & "My Bread"
Recently we have had a few posts on people having issues getting the No Knead Bread to turn out a wonderful as it should. Jim Lahey has just published a new book called "My Bread" that I thought might be fun to take a look at. It isn't an expensive book at $16.60 and has many variations on his original recipe as well as many popular variations of offerings at the Sullivan Street Bakery.
I thought I would start with the basic formula which is all Bread Flour. It almost came to pass but at the last minute I swapped out 5% of white for rye. I love what a small amount of rye does to a simple white flavor. All of Lahey's formulas call for 400 grams of flour and 300 grams of water and 2% salt. The variable is the yeast which runs from 1-3 grams depending on the additions. The resultant hydration is 75%.
One concern about the KNB process is that the chance of mixing a smooth silky dough with no lumps is diminished by minimal mixing and no kneading. After my initial mix, I went to check the dough after an hour and found many clumps of partially hydrated dough. I know that these clumps will result in inconsistency in the crumb. So, I deviated from the script and did a frissage, (squishing the dough with the heel of your hand while sliding it across the counter) which broke up the clumps. Now I have a smooth cool dough that will set at room temperature for at least 12 hours.
Somewhere along the way, the NKB process took a turn towards what I would call normal breads in that Lahey now wants us to do a second fermentation after a brief shaping. The book calls for flouring a towel and setting the bread in a bowl to "proof". I used a linen lined basket and let it proof for 2 hours.
Interestingly, the procedure calls for the final ferment (proof) to be done seams down and baked seams up. No slashing is called for so the bread expands on the weakness of the bottom seams from shaping. It worked pretty well on the two loaves I have done although I would have liked a better spring.
I baked the loaf in the Lodge Combo Cooker, 15 minutes covered and 15 open at 460F. The internal was just over 203F. I didn't get the wildly open crumb structure that is shown in the book image but it's very appropriate for the bread, and delicious.
There are several very interesting recipes in Chapter Three "Specialties of the House" that are on my to-do list. The Italian Stecca with tomatoes and garlic pressed in the top of a stick. Then the Beyond water section, there are several interesting selections. The carrot bread looks like it would be fun and tasty. It uses home made juice extracted from carrots for hydration. So here is my first crack at the new "My Bread".
Just a little course corn meal prevents scorching on the bottom.