Monday, September 5, 2011

Jim Lahey No Knead Bread

I picked up Jim Lahey's No Knead bread book. As much as I love making Tartine bread, it is very time consuming. I still keep my Tartine starter which by now is about 8 months old, but I have been too busy to spend a whole day making bread. At first glance, Jim's recipe seems to be much easier to make, and most of the time spent is proofing which can be done overnight, so I thought I give it a shot.

When I first read the recipe, I was quite skeptical. How could the bread develop enough tension to rise without any stretch and fold. Since the bread requires at least 12 hours fermentation time at room temperature of ~70F which is perfect for where I live. I mixed the dough the night before, left it to proof at room temperature and baked the next morning.

One minor change from Jim's recipe was instead of doing the second rise in the folded towel, I did my second rise in the basket (Tartine's method). Jim's suggestion for testing that dough is ready to bake is to do 1/4 inch indentation and see if it holds. Mine took about 1 hour to complete second rise at 80F degree. I took the pre-heated cast iron combo out of the oven, flip the dough into the cast iron combo, put back and wait.

The result? OMG it was awesome!!!! Although the bread does not taste as complex as Tartine's recipe and does not have the same aroma, it is pretty darn good. I would have this bread any time. The bread has good, uneven air pocket. This time I also made sure I did not overproof. It did get pretty good rise. Given the time I spent making it and the quality the bread came out, I have to say this will be preferable over Tartine's recipe for me.

The bread tastes good by itself. It tasted similar to Ciabatta. It is even better brushing with olive oil and toast in the cast iron pan to crisp it up. Half the loaf was gone by lunch time. I keep the other half for next day or may be dinner :-) I encourage anyone who like Tartine's recipe to check this one out.

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