No Knead Bread = No Baked Bread Smell?
Hi, I've only been baking bread from a couple of the no knead books for about 2 months now. In that time I've probably done about two dozen loaves. Like a lot of people, I grew up with my mom making bread the old fashion way for our family, mixing, kneading, raising and baking. I loved the smell of the bread dough and especially the smell of bread while it was baking and after it came out of the oven. I don't think there is much better than fresh bread out of the oven with butter on it.
Later, with my family, I'd do the occasional home made bread, but because of how much time and attention it took, it wasn't very often but we still enjoyed the smell of baking bread and that just out of the oven with melted butter goodness. Later on, we got a bread machine and it became easy to do bread. I don't know how many loaves we baked this way, but I experimented with different receipts to get the kind of bread we liked. I lean towards Italian type bread more than white or French, so I found a couple of receipts for Italian type bread and made variations of that most of the time. Even though the loaves came out in a different shape that what I grew up with, it still smelled like baking bread and was great fresh out of the machine.
Then I got the urge for more flavor and more variety and my wife mentioned that she had been wanting a stand mixer, so I got her one for Christmas (and I'm thinking of the bread hook and how I can use it to make traditional type bread) and it works great. Then I start reading about bread receipts and start reading about stuff called "Artisan Bread" and "Refrigerated Over Night Bread" and "No Need to Knead" type bread and using steam, dutch ovens, stones, tiles and all of these promises of how easy it was and how much flavor it created and I just had to try it. So I bought a few books ("The New Artisan Bread in five minutes a Day, Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast" and Peter Reinhart's "Artisan Breads every day") and started reading and trying out the receipts. The receipts were easy and leaving them in the fridge overnight or several nights did give me some different flavors. The hardest part was doing the steam. I used a baking dish underneath a flat bottomed cast iron skillet that was the right size to put a round loaf of dough on and I'd pour some boiling water into the pan. I never did get more than about a quarter cup poured in because of all the splattering that went on from the almost 500 degree pre-heated pan, so I don't think I ever got a good steam spring from it. And I found that to get the bread done inside, the crust had to bake a lot darker than what I was use to (but the books said and showed that that was what it was suppose to look like) and what I found more on the bitter side than I liked so I did more reading. I found this site and started reading the forums and getting ideas from others. One of those ideas was using a stainless steel bowl to put over the dough to hold in the moisture from the very hydrated dough, letting it create it's own steam. So I did this and found it worked a lot better. I also found that I could take the bowl off to let the crust brown as much as I wanted and still get the bread done. This improved my crust (in my opinion) although I'm still a ways away from what it probably should be like. Recently, I took another step and bought a cast iron dutch oven to try baking in. I was a little leery about this because of having to handle that much hot iron and trying to get the loaf into it for baking. So far I have done two loafs in the dutch oven and I have to say that I'm very happy with the outcome. The crust was a lot softer with more flavor and I got a lot of spring with it. I'm still leery about having that much hot iron though and I keep telling myself to remember how hot it is and to keep both mitts on at all times when the oven door is open. I also have to be careful where I set the lid or lower part to make sure it's on something heat proof. But I can see I'm going to be using the dutch oven a lot. :D
One thing I've noticed with all of this though, out of all of the loaves I've baked so far the one thing that is missing is the fresh baked bread smell. It's just not there, not even when I cut the bread and put my nose almost in the crumb to smell. I did notice that there was almost the familiar baking bread smell with the two loaves I did in the dutch oven when I took the lid off. But it was more a tantalizing tease of a smell rather than what I usually smell when baking bread, either traditionally or in the bread machine. Is that the price we pay for doing artisan type bread? Do we have to give up the smell? Or am I doing something wrong in the baking? I have a feeling that the hotter oven is killing the bread smell before it can escape. I've been meaning to do some traditional loaf bread at the lower temperature to see if I get the smell back, but I've not done that yet. But it does beg the question... does no need to knead mean we don't get the fresh baked bread smell?
I'm glad I found this site and I'm looking forward to learning more from those that have been doing this a lot longer... which is just about everyone. :D