Friday, February 8, 2008

CSA week ten - almost no-knead potato scallion bread

A cup of scallions here, a cup of scallions there, sooner or later I will finally use up all of these things. Actually, I think a bread recipe is a little better served by onions or leeks which brown more nicely, but scallions aren't a bad choice.

This is the first major modification I've made on the no-knead recipe but plenty of others have gone before me so I was fairly confident this would work out. My strategy was to substitute half a cup of flour with boiled potato at the start and then mix in a cup of butter-sautéed scallions for the second rise (that's a cup of scallions measured before wilting them down). I used my modification of the no-knead recipe (that I posted back here) including a couple tablespoons of rye flour and a half cup of dough from last week's loaf.

The one mistake I made was not reducing the water to compensate for the moisture in the potato. It hadn't had time to leach out into the flour during the initial mixing so while the dough looked and felt about right, after the first rise the dough was a sloppy wet mess. I added a good bit of flour as I gave it it's minimal kneading, but it didn't make a big difference. Perhaps the moisture from the scallions and the butter offset it. The dough was too loose to let rise on a cutting board so I lined a bowl with parchment paper and poured the dough into it. That not only contained the rising dough but let me airlift it over to the cooking vessel without breaking a lot of bubbles.

The dough didn't rise much during baking; I think that's because the dough was too loose to keep a slit on the top for the steam to escape and boy was there a heck of a lot of steam. Since both were caused by all the water in the dough there wasn't much to be done about it but make a note for next time.

Still, doughs that don't rise much can be dense in a few different ways and I think this managed to do it in a good way with a rich chewiness that compliments the scallion, potato, butter and rye flavors. Next time I do a flavored loaf, I'm going to try an herb and cheese combination, but I can easily see coming back to this recipe with little modification.

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