The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Judith Fertig no knead bread book????

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swtgran's picture
swtgran

Judith Fertig no knead bread book????

Does anyone else think the instructions for the liquid in this book are confusing?  I have tried the cracked wheat recipe twice and thought I had made an error the first time.  I put the entire 3 cups of water into the recipe and it was soup.  If I put in only 1 3/4 cups it is still a mess to work with. 

I think in the instructions she is saying to put in the amount of water to moisten the flour not the amount called for in the ingredients list.  Doesn't it seem like she should not have that huge amount of water listed in the ingredients when it is not needed?  For inexperienced bakers, it seems like that is what should be listed in the ingredient list not that huge amount with no side note beside it. 

I have baked for years and I didn't catch what the recipe was.  No one needs the measured amount in the list.  Instead they need to use their discretion on what a moistened, raggedy dough is. 

The book states to add the water and stir until moistened not, add water until moistened.

Anyone else think this is a problem with this book?

HeidiH's picture
HeidiH

It's an open secret that many cooksbooks are created without anyone ever trying the recipes, even the author. 

I'm not familiar with Judith Fertig in particular so I don't know her authoring practices but just a cursory search on amazon indicates that she has authored many cookbooks on barbecue, bread, desserts, regional American cooking, etc.  From the titles, several of these have a few hundred recipes each, e.g. 200 no-knead bread recipes, 250 bread machine recipes, 400 "prairie home cooking,"  150 prairie breads (whatever those are),   500 Mexican recipes, 300 grilled and smoked fish recipes, 300 barbecues, 500 misc. fish, 400 American desserts, 500 cupcakes ... and more.  You get the idea.  There is little likelihood that all these recipes were tested by anyone.  This does not mean that her cookbooks are therefore all bad or useless but like many they are to be taken with a grain of salt.  

Heidi (librarian-dyed-in-the-wool)

JudithFertig's picture
JudithFertig

Yes, Heidi, I am a cookbook author.  A prolific one.  I've been writing, cooking, baking, and--yes--testing for 20 years. Some books I have written solo, others with a co-author.  Some books like The Artisan Bread Machine (Robert Rose 2012) have recipes that were tested by me as well as a team of home economists.  Others, like 200 Fast & Easy Artisan Breads (Robert Rose 2011),   were tested by myself and a group of friends--the whole premise of that book was that even a "newbie" or a person afraid of making bread could make wonderful stuff. And they did.

That doesn't mean, however, that a mistake can't make its way into a book.  Both an editor and a copy editor scour everything over and sometimes cut and paste errors happen.  In the 200 Fast & Easy Artisan Bread recipe referred to above, the cracked wheat needed to be cooked and cooled before added to the dough. In my most recent book The Gardener and the Grill, co-authored with Karen Adler, the typsetter accidentally removed the flour ingredient for the flatbread you make on the grill.  In the first edition of 500 Cupcakes (which I had no hand in doing), the British publishers discovered that British self-raising flour was not the same as American, and American self-rising didn't make the best cupcakes.  The publisher asked me to tweak those recipes in the second American edition, and that was when my name was added to the cover. 

Today, readers can find authors easily enough through amazon.com, author blogs, or web sites.  If readers have questions or comments, I'm always glad to hear from them. 

But, hold onto your hat, Heidi--I have two more cookbooks out this year.  One is Back in the Swing (Andrews McMeel, 2012) --a cookbook and lifestyle book for women recovering from breast cancer, co-authored with Barb Unell. The recipes in this book were vetted by dietitians, nurses, breast cancer survivors, and the University of Kansas. I also wrote I Love Cinnamon Rolls! (Andrews McMeel, September 2012) and those recipes were tested by me, a group of friends, and the food stylist. 

I love what I do and I hope my readers enjoy the books I help create, even when mistakes happen.

Judith Fertig

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Welcome to TFL!  Always delighted to hear from Authors!  Glad to hear also that you make yourself available to readers.  Thank you.  Thank you.  :)

HeidiH's picture
HeidiH

I'm so glad you've set the record straight about your books, Judith.

The most tested of cookbooks can be rife with errors.  Look at the correspondence here in TFL about Stan Ginsberg's Inside the Jewish Bakery and errata.  I was the indexer of the book but don't like to say this too loudly because the publisher printed the first rough draft of the index in the initial print run.  The final index, which was a much better one from collaborative work with Stan isn't in the book but only online on Stan's site.

So, unlike some other cookbook authors, especially some celebrity cookbook authors, you do indeed test your recipes which is great to know.  I was just making a general point about cookbooks and some authoring practices and meant no insult to your methods. 

Congratulations on your new books coming out!

flournwater's picture
flournwater

HeidiH clearly understands how instructional books (cookbooks and other "how to" publications) come to market filled with errors or ideas that just don't work.  One more point to always consider is that the proof readers don't always catch those little errors that sometimes frustrate the cook.  I've known some people who, new to cooking, have considered themselves failures because a recipe in print by a well known author didn't work for them.  


"This does not mean that her cookbooks are therefore all bad or useless but like many they are to be taken with a grain of salt.".

Love the metaphore

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

bread in question?

Thanks,

anna

JudithFertig's picture
JudithFertig

Yes, here it is:

No-Knead Cracked Wheat Dough

Makes enough dough for bread, rolls, pizza, or flatbread to serve 12 to 16

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) uncooked cracked wheat cereal

1 2/3 cups (400 mL) water

1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) salt

1/2 cup (125 mL) honey

1 1/2 tbsp (22 mL) unsalted butter

4 1/2 cups (1.125 L) unbleached bread flour

2 tbsp (25 mL) instant or bread machine yeast

1  tbsp (15 mL)  salt

2 cups (750 mL) lukewarm (100 F/38 C) water

1. Cook. In a saucepan, combine cracked wheat, water, salt, honey, and butter. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir, remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes or until wheat is slightly softened and still warm (100 degrees F/38 degrees C).

2. Measure. Spoon the flour into a measuring cup, level with a knife or your finger, then dump the flour into the mixing bowl.

3. Mix. Add the wheat cereal mixture, yeast, and salt to the flour. Stir together with a wooden spoon or a Danish dough whisk. Pour in the water and stir together until just moistened. Beat 40 strokes, scraping the bottom and the sides of the bowl, until the dough forms a  lumpy, sticky mass.

4. Rise. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise at room temp (72 F/22 C) in a draft-free place for 2 hours or until the dough has risen nearly to the top of the bowl and has a sponge-like appearance.

5. Use right away or refrigerate. Use that day or place the dough, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before baking. 

 

Make Cracked Wheat Baguettes (adapted directions from 200 Fast & Easy Artisan Breads: No Knead, One Bowl). You can make all four loaves at one time or just bake 1 or 2 at a time, as the dough lasts 3 days. 

1. Transfer the dough to a floured surface. Lightly flour the dough and your hands. Using a dough scraper, cut the dough into 4 equal parts.  Form each part into a 14-inch (35 cm) cylinder. Lightly flour any sticky places on the dough as you go. Pinch any seams closed. Pinch each end to a point. The dough should feel soft and smooth all over, like a baby's skin, but not at all sticky.

2. Rest.  Sprinkle 1 cup (250 mL) cornmeal on 2 baking sheets. Transfer the formed loaves to the baking sheets and space 6 inches (15 cm) apart. Cover with tea towels and let rest at room temperature for 40 minutes.  The loaves will not rise much, if at all, during this resting phase.  They will finish rising in the oven.

3. Prepare the oven for artisan baking.  Place a baking stone on the middle shelf of the oven and a broiler pan on the lower shelf. Preheat the oven to 450 F/230 C about 30 minutes before baking.

4. Slash the baguettes. Using a serrated knife, make 3 evenly spaced diagonal slashes, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep across each baguette, exposing the moist dough beneath the surface.

5. Boil 2 cups water for the broiler pan.

6. Bake.  Slide 1 baking sheet onto the baking stone. Using oven mitts, carefully pull out the lower shelf and pour the boiling water into the broiler pan.  Slide the lower shelf back into place. Close the oven door and bake for 25 to 27 minutes or until the crust is medium dark brown and an instant read thermometer inserted in the center of a baguette registers at least 190 F/90 C.

7. Repeat the baking process with the remaining loaves. And enjoy!

 

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

It sounds lovely and I will certainly add it to my "to bake" list.

Best,

Anna

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Drop the "mL" measurement (it doesn't exist) and use weights in grams.   Scales are the way to go and much easier to use.  Volume measurements have inaccuracy factors built in.  I would not purchase a book written in ml.

msbreadbaker's picture
msbreadbaker

Well, what is "ml" anyway? Is it milileters? Thanks! P.S. Does "oz" have the same accuracy in baking as grams?

yy's picture
yy

mL is milliliters. The degree of accuracy when it comes to measuring in oz or grams depends on your scale. Most scales on the American mass market seem to measure in 1 gram increments and 1/8 oz increments. In this case, the gram measurements will allow for greater accuracy (since 1/8 oz ~ 3.54 grams).

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

when all caps are used.     mL is a typo

yy's picture
yy

Either mL or ml is acceptable as a symbol for "milliliter." I am accustomed to using "mL" because it has been the standard notation used in my scientific training. In my experience, "mL" is more commonly used than "ml," but both are correct. I suspect it's for consistency reasons, as "liter" is typically symbolized with a capital L.

Here is a link on official SI unit symbols.

http://lamar.colostate.edu/~hillger/correct.htm

addendum: "ML" would definitely be incorrect. Lower case SI prefixes cannot be capitalized. ML would translate to "megaliter," or a million liters.

another addendum: Just learned something new from Wikipedia. I was wondering why I'd seen "mL" so much more often than "ml," and it turns out it's because I live in the United States:

In many English-speaking countries, the most common shape of a handwritten Arabic digit 1 is just a vertical stroke; that is, it lacks the upstroke added in many other cultures. Therefore, the digit '1' may easily be confused with the letter 'l'. Further, on some typewriters, particularly older ones, the unshifted L key had to be used to type the numeral 1. Even in some computer typefaces, the two characters are barely distinguishable. This caused some concern, especially in the medical community. As a result, L (uppercase letter L) was adopted as an alternative symbol for litre in 1979. The United States National Institute of Standards and Technology now recommends the use of the uppercase letter L,[8] a practice that is also widely followed in Canada and Australia. In these countries, the symbol L is also used with prefixes, as in mL and µL, instead of the traditional ml and µl used in Europe. In the UK and Ireland as well as the rest of Europe, lowercase l is used with prefixes, though whole litres are often written in full (so, "750 ml" on a wine bottle, but often "1 litre" on a juice carton).

Prior to 1979, the symbol ℓ (script small l, U+2113), came into common use in some countries; for example, it was recommended by South African Bureau of Standards publication M33 and Canada in the 1970s. This symbol can still be encountered occasionally in some English-speaking countries, and its use is ubiquitous in Japan and South Korea. Fonts covering the CJK characters usually include not only the script small ℓ but also four precomposed characters: ㎕, ㎖, ㎗, and ㎘ (U+3395 to U+3398) for the microlitre, millilitre, decilitre, and kilolitre. Nevertheless, it is no longer used in most countries and was never officially recognised by the BIPM or the International Organization for Standardization.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

So that's what went on after I left the country!  Lol!    and further down on wiki...    (how much of wiki is true?)

In 1979, at the 16th CGPM conference, the alternative symbol L (uppercase letter L) was adopted. It also expressed a preference that in the future only one of these two symbols should be retained, but in 1990 said it was still too early to do so.[10]

yy's picture
yy

Lol Maybe whatever ends up on wikipedia becomes the truth?? I've seen some questionable things on wikipedia. It's disturbing that the scientific community can't agree on a single international system. If they can't get that done, how long is it going to take them to accomplish something that actually matters?

msbreadbaker's picture
msbreadbaker

Thanks for the explanation regarding oz and grams. I did not know that info. Always eyeopeners around! Jean

taurus430's picture
taurus430

I just purchased this book as I'm a big fan of no knead and also have the other 2 popular books for this method. I agree about the suggestion of adding grams and not ml and I agree with another review about mentioning on every page about Canadian flour. I am making half recipe tonite of your  hamburger rolls using milk. All my hamburger recipes are similar to my dinner roll recipes using egg. I haven't tried no knead hamburger roll method either. Your method is very similar to Artisan Bread in 5 which I got to like a lot. I started way before with Lahey's no knead method, 4 yrs now.

JudithFertig's picture
JudithFertig

Hope you enjoyed the hamburger buns!  I think a burger always tastes best on a homemade bun.

mL stands for milliliters, as this book was published by Robert Rose in Canada and also goes to the U.S., Australia, and the United Kingdom.  Using mL is part of their particular style. 

 

What I like about the no-knead dough is that it is very forgiving.  I like Jim Lahey's method and Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes as well.

 

 

 

taurus430's picture
taurus430

I like both methods for different reasons. I don't like working with biga's so I always mix my dough and let it sit on the counter for 12-18 hrs for Lahey's method. I always use Lahey's method to make my pugliese (rustic bread) in cast iron pot as it always works for me and for Ciabatta.  For the other method with more yeast, I mix, 2 hr rise and always refrigerate overnite. I use various master dough recipes for rolls, pizza, cinnamon buns etc. The no knead methods are the best, keeping things simple and got me to baking breads.