Thursday, May 31, 2007

To Chew Or Not To Chew

Well, Coffee Mates, how's that for a primo photographic example of artisan bread -- in this case, our recently discussed no-knead bread? Gorgeous, innit? Still hot in that pic, and smelling like heaven on a stick.

Looks can be SO deceiving.

I don't mean the bread was a bust. It really does smell -- and taste -- lovely, and that's the whole point, I guess. Trouble is, I do not personally care for the heavy-duty chewy crust you get with this method of baking. Even after generously slathering it with olive oil and keeping it in a plastic bag, it's still very chewy a day later. [sigh]

Also, I really should have left it to cook a bit longer. You may have noticed the tutorial suggested cooking with the lid on, then cooking some more with the lid off. Leo, in the video, simply cooked it 30 minutes with the lid on. I'm used to having my bread done in no more than 30 minutes at a much lower heat so this extremely high temp had me worried. While the crust is lovely, the innards are not quite up to snuff. A wee bit too moist but acceptable -- barely. It definitely could have done with some more time, no doubt about it. [sigh]

I knew I wasn't going to get along with this particular bread back in the rising stage. The flour-to-water proportions simply don't seem right. My pan de agua recipe calls for 3 cups flour and 1 cup water. This calls for 3 cups flour and 1 1/2 cups water. That extra half-cup makes a huge difference. I should have worked in a lot more flour after the first rise, that's what. But I was making myself stick with the recipe and didn't add nearly enough. Which left me with a sticky blob of dough from hell. [sigh]

On top of everything else, I fell asleep early last night, missed putting up this post altogether, and woke up at 5:30 this morning just like I knew what I was doing. Well, if I'm going to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed before the sun is even over the hill, you'll just have to put up with me tossing this post into the pot, all out of synch with any kind of schedule at all. I vote we all get another cup of coffee and try to put this experience behind us. You, of course, may have an entirely different result if and when you make your no-knead bread. I hope you succeed beyond your wildest dreams. Truly, I do. As for me, I'm going back to my pan de agua. It doesn't make me chew so furiously that I burn up more calories in the process of eating than I'm taking on in the contents of what I'm eating.

Wait. I'm saying that like it's a bad thing.

No, never mind. With my luck, I'd just end up with skinny jaws. [sigh]


bb said...

Let us know if anyone else gives their results. :-)

John Bailey said...

I've watched a number of these no-knead videos on youtube now and have come to the conclusion that it's best to stay with the old, tried and true method -- bung the stuff in the bread machine and put it on the dough cycle... :-)

Wendy said...

Dee, thanks for the follow-up. As it happens, I'm one of those who loves lots of chewy, crusty crust so I think I might just give this one a go.

Dee said...

Kewl, Wendy! I'd be really interested to know how it works out for you, and especially curious as to whether you add significantly more flour.

Anyone else gonna give it a try? Bonnie and I want to know. (grin)

In the meantime, John and I are embracing our bread machines with renewed appreciation.

Mage said...

Since I have a nasty case of carpal tunnel syndrome, despite surgery et al, I would have liked to try a tasty and not so chewy bread........darn it too. Let me know if you invent one.

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