This Week’s Daily Bread

I am beginning to get the idea behind bread. It gets its flavor from fermentation and a touch of salt. It converts a bland wheat flour into something palatable and portable. I can see why the first bread makers would have been excited.

The no knead recipe from the NYT (link) has some intimations about how much water to flour you need, but I am learning from experience. The dough, if you can pour it, results in a kind of a hard crust foccacia. Actually, its somewhere between that and a Levantine flat bread. To get a boule, the dough needs to have a touch of backbone. The no knead technique then really is about creating a steam oven for the non-professional bread baker.

The problem with making a stiffer dough is that it can result in a denser bread -I think then I will have to let it rise longer.

I advocate this for everyone -make a loaf of bread on the weekend -it is relaxing and invigorating at the same time. It is a game of balance and timing. It takes patience. It is the culinary equivalent of golf.

My Daily Bread

In my quest to master the basics of post-industrial cooking, bread has been a bit of a mystery. I grew up with rice and can tell the basic qualities and provenances of rice with ease, but bread I just like to eat. I think the difference is that I never saw my mother bake bread, and therefore, it is mysterious.

I used a simple no-knead recipe from the NY Times(link here). This is my second try -my first was a gooey mess. The results above are my second effort, and it looks really edible. The crust cracks fiercely and there is wonderful topography to this bread. It took very little effort, and I think this is how we’ll make our bread from here on.

The crust is wonderfuly crisp and the center is fluffy and chewy. It is bread heaven.