Sunday, May 18, 2008

Almost no knead bread (adjusted for the climate)

I mentioned recently that my bread baking hasn't been working out. The doughs have been too moist and haven't been able to hold their rise while they bake. This time I decided to deliberately skimp on the water by an ounce and started with a dough that looked far too dry (but otherwise I kept to the standard almost no knead technique with the exception of substituting in a couple ounces of rye flour. Click on "bread" in the left column to find the post with my usual variation on the recipe.). It seemed to moisten to a reasonable state over time as it sat, but it also tended to dry out around the edges. I ended up spritzing it with water from a spray bottle once in a while.

When it came time for the knead, the texture felt just about right. It formed into a nice springy ball ready for a second rise. I decided to try keeping it in an oiled plastic bucket instead of sitting out on a silpat this time. That way I could suspend a moisten cloth over it without it actually touching the dough and risking sticking. It worked quite well; no sticking problems at all. I may use a smaller bucket next time so it doesn't spread out as much.

Here it is after a two hour second rise just before it went into the oven.

And here it is afterwards. Not too bad. It's a lot lighter than other recent loaves, but it still could be better. I think it kept nearly all of the height from the second rise so maybe I should add a bit more time to that.

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