Wednesday, January 21, 2009
So, the toasty chef has tried making bread a few times in the past. A couple of white loaves, a rather smaller couple of wholewheat loaves, a long running attempt to make good wheaten bread etc. Results have generally been ok but not spectacular. The toasty chef knew that in the fabled realm of professional baking steam was involved in making a really great crust, but didn't want to try some Heath Robinson technique to try to get steam into his oven. Allegedly the spray bottles and pans of water don't really work well, anyway.
Anyway, a few months ago the toasty chef's friends in Tacoma passed on the no-knead recipe featured in the New York Times. This uses two tricks. First, the dough has a very high liquid content (read big shaggy moist amoeba) and this allows the gluten to develop on its own and without kneading (hurrah!), although slowly and hence using very little yeast and a slow slow rise. The second trick is baking the bread in a preheated cast iron casserole (the toasty chef is very nervous of burnt fingers in this process). This second trick allows the crust to steam using the moisture in the dough in a confined space. Just like the grown up professional bakers manage!
The toasty chef, the lovely Mr. T and even mottled-grey dog all really love this bread and toasty chef has basically given up trying any other white bread recipes or methods.
Hmm... time for toast!