Another Brit saying hello and posing a question
Greetings TFL forum,
It is always amusing to me, here in the UK, when I see the abbreviation TFL on this site because to me it stands for "Transport for London", but I'm sure their forums are not nearly so interesting as The Fresh Loaf's!.
I am fairly new to baking. I started at the deep-end with a sourdough starter about a year ago but hadn't really learnt any of the basic techniques of bread baking so had little success and threw it all away. I had also tried a couple of basic white loaves by following the recipes on the back of the flour packet but I didn't know about the importance of shaping properly or how to tell it it was properly proofed so again, had limited success.
There is a TV series on in the UK at present called 'The Great British Bake Off' where amateur bakers are pitted against each other in various technical and creative challenges and it has really inspired me to start baking again. So after reading the "lessons" on TFL and the forums, I tried a simple white cob loaf and was really pleased how it turned out.
I got myself a couple of bread books, an oven thermometer and an instant read thermometer and am looking forward to working my way through the texts to perfect my baking skills.
However (you knew there was a 'but' coming) I have just today read about the 'no knead' technique on the internet. I had heard about this before but had dismissed it as some sort of lazy way to make bread that can't be that great and I'm a snob and want to do it properly. But now having spent the time reading about the process, I've decided the bread looks great and seems to be very popular and simple.
I sort of feel slightly deflated now. I haven't tried the bread yet but with my last loaf I really put the effort in to read about kneading and how proofing works and shaping your loaf etc but was that all in vain? Can I just do the easy no knead version, bung it in a dutch oven and hey presto, lovely soft crusty bread every time?
I'm guessing 'no knead' doesn't replace other bread recipes. There must be many breads that need kneading. But if I want a nice crusty loaf, why would I bother with anything other than 'no knead'? Time constraints I suppose.
One of my books encourages the reader to perfect their simple white loaf recipe before carrying on but is that necessary anymore if this super easy process now exists. And can I bake all my bread in a dutch oven, 'no knead' or otherwise?
I guess I'm after some experienced bakers to tell me of all the wonderful things I can learn and that 'no knead' is just one little method of baking but there is a whole lot more to learn.
Sorry for the ramble - any advice appreciated.