Naturally leavened no knead bread
The no knead bread has been all the rage since Bittman wrote about Lahey's method in the NY Times. I've always wanted to try it out, but just never got around to it. I had about 50 grams of sourdough starter leftover after feeding. It had only been about 15 hours since it had been fed (at 1:3:3), so instead of discarding it I used it to experiment with a naturally leavened no knead bread.
I used only all-purpose flour and no whole grain flours because my all-purpose is less costly than my whole grains. If the resulting bread turned out poorly then I would be less sad about tossing it out. I knew I needed something fairly wet so the following are the baker's percentages I decided to use: 100% flour, 80% water, 2% salt, 10% levain. The overall hydration including the 100% hydration levain was 80.9%.
Naturally Leavened No Knead Bread
500 grams AP flour
400 grams water
10 grams salt
50 grams levain (aka my leftover starter)
Final dough: 960 grams
- I put all the ingredients in a bowl and mixed it into a shaggy mess. No kneading, no stretching, no folding, and no slapping.
- I covered the bowl and let it ferment undisturbed at room temperature (about 71F) for 9 hours, and then I put in the refrigerator (about 38F) for 72 hours.
- I took the cold dough from the refrigerator and shaped it into a loose boule.
- I proofed the boule at room temperature (about 71F) for 3 hours.
- I did not slash nor did I score it.
- I baked it seam side up in a cast iron pot at 450F for 40 minutes (20 minutes with the lid on and 20 min without the lid).
The crust was thin and crisp and covered in blisters.
The crumb was really moist and almost custardy. There was a nice pleasant chew to it too.
In hindsight the 72 hours in the refrigerator could have been disastrous, but luckily my dough was not overfermented. I think the 72 hours in the refrigerator really made a positive impact in the flavor department. The bread was tangy and sour like the SF sourdough that I remember eating as a child and it was nothing like the one-dimensional vinegary flavors that plague today's Boudin bread. Overall I think it was a very sucessful experiment and one that I will be repeating again and again.