Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Speedy no-knead bread: I begin to doubt

One nice thing about the "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" version of no-knead dough is the quantity. If you want to do some experimenting with your baking method, you don't have to make a fresh batch of dough every time.

After yesterday's oops, I'm trying again with parmesan bread. I folded shredded parmesan into the middle and mashed some onto the top (it doesn't like to stick). Today I'm letting it do a two-hour rise on the counter before baking. I'll try the cold-oven method again. It's in a smaller pot, too. (Hadn't run the dishwasher.)

If I wanted to be all scientific about it, I wouldn't change the variables by adding cheese and changing the pot, but I'm not America's Test Kitchen or Cooking for Engineers. I like to live on the edge.

Boy, doesn't this look yummy?
Except ...

Yes, it was burned to a black crisp on the bottom and stuck to the pot. I had to rip it out of there. The bread tasted fine, but this is not acceptable. I baked it for half an hour covered and 15 minutes uncovered.

More testing ahead. I really want to make the cold-oven method work, as it is much more energy-efficient than pre-heating.

I just caught up on responding to comments from the last few days. If you left one, and saw no answer, I wasn't ignoring you!


  1. Hmm, I don't know. 2 messages later and nothing in my mailbox, including junk. Oh well.
    Greetings, Lota.

  2. The top-down shot of the finished loaf looks great — I love how a good photo can make even mistakes look good.

    I'm looking forward to seeing how to perfect the cold oven method.

  3. I got a bread machine some years ago and it works fine. Uses very little energy as you only heat up the inside of the machine.

  4. I haven't managed to make the cold oven thing work, I get that awful stuck to the bottom have to pry it out with two knives and a wooden spoon result no matter what I roll it in or anything else I've done to it.

  5. Did you grease (ick. oil? butter?) the bottom of the bowl before plunking the dough in it?

    I'm intrigued by this whole experiment, as our automatic breadmaker has never made anything but crappy bread, and I'd really like home-baked breads.

  6. Maybe try it again using a circle of greased parchment paper on the bottom.

  7. Lota, I don't know why my email's not going though to you. I guess I can answer here: Vitamin Cottage o Wadsworth sells vegetable rennet, and you can get animal rennet at the Brew Hut on Hampden.

    Thanks, Tim! Appearances can be deceiving. I'll keep trying!

    Sibylle, I had a first-generation bread-maker, but didn't like the results. Plus I've found that most bread makers don't produce the really crispy crust I like on a rustic loaf, nor the shape.

    Alecto, hopefully I can find a solution!

    Kitt, I'm going to try oiling, too.

    And parchment paper, Deneph.

  8. Okay, I am a doubter. I just tried the master artisan recipe after you left me a post today. My boyfriend E and I love it!!! I have a loaf of rye no-knead proofing and I don't even want it now!! Can't wait to see how the rest of the loaves taste from the fridge proofed dough.

  9. Hey, glad you like it, Michaela! I was really devoted to the original Lahey version, but this one is a lot more convenient, time-wise. But I've concluded you do need to preheat your pot, but just 10 minutes, starting from a cold oven.

    i.e. Put the pot in the oven, set it to 400 degrees, wait 10 minutes, then throw your dough in. The oven won't be up to 400 yet, but it'll get there soon enough.