On Saturday I celebrated my singlehood by a night in with some friends. We decided to make pizzas from scratch, which gave me a chance to try out Jim Lahey’s recipe for no-knead pizza dough. In the end, we added at least an extra cup of flour to the recipe, as the proposed ratios yielded an unmanageably wet dough. I also ran out of AP flour and had to use some of the whole wheat, which likely contributed to the degree of wetness. Might as well start with 4 cups of flour to the 1 1/2 cups water to avoid overhandling the dough like we probably did.
One of my new year’s resolutions is to learn how to make a good loaf of bread. Over the years, I’ve developed a deep appreciation for the comfort and singular satisfaction that bread can bring, but it’s only recently that I’ve decided to take action and try to usher bakery-quality bread to my own doorstep. Thinking baby steps, the first bread I’m hoping to master is none other than the no-knead bread propounded by Mark Bittman and Jim Lahey. Unfortunately, the inaccessibility of a conventional oven has made things interesting. Good thing I am up to the challenge.
This is my second attempt at making no-knead bread (or almost no-knead bread, as I gave the first one some 10-15 kneads). I did as I was told, but before I put it into a little toaster oven (sad, I know), a friend and I decided to envelop the dough in an aluminum foil igloo in the hopes of enclosing the bread in a space that would hypothetically resemble and function like a dutch oven.
My precious, in its igloo, waiting patiently for the oven to preheat:
Unsuccessfully attempting to recreate the dutch oven effect:
At 250C (the highest temperature setting on this darn thing, which of course was another issue), I baked it for about 30 mins with the foil on and 15 with it off. Since I was in a rush, I did not let the bread brown properly, but I figured since it already looked sadly deflated, it wasn’t worth saving:
Of course, the bread still gave off a great aroma and was pleasantly flavorful (though I think substituting some beer and a tablespoon of vinegar for some of the water does improve the taste substantially). But I’m not sure how else to create the ‘dutch oven’ effect with such a small oven — suggestions, however out there, would be great. Since the bread was sitting on a pyrex plate, it did develop a nice crusty bottom, so maybe somehow sandwich it between two pyrex plates with aluminum foil draped around it?