As you know, the first try at the no-knead bread was a failure. Yesterday I started over again, but I really had my mouth fixed for bread yesterday, and so I used the barm I've been keeping alive for the past couple of weeks and put together a bread dough for Rustic Sourdough Bread from the King Arthur Flour website. They have their own starter recipe, but it worked just fine using the one I had on hand.
Possibly I was already working on this when I wrote yesterday's post. I can't remember. (Mind like a steel trap.) When I got back to it, it had risen nicely.
From there, I formed it into soft loaves and let it rise for another hour. It was at this point that I decided to invest in some bannetons. Forming loaves on a baking sheet like this seems to allow them to spread out and not rise much. I'd like a little more height to my loaves. The bannetons are covered baskets...a little more rustic than using loaf pans...and I think I'll get better results.
So, finally, they were ready for baking, and they turned out beautifully. This is a good recipe. It's the second time I've made it (using different starters), and it's worked out fine both times.
While I was waiting for it to cool, I got to work making a Christmas ornament for Sue. I used the tutorial written for Katrina's Tutorials. While I was looking for the written tutorial, I found this YouTube video showing you how to do it. You start with two contrasting fabrics. I like this ribbon candy fabric. I can't see ribbon candy without thinking of my grandfather.
You cut both fabrics into circles. I used this Tupperware lid and with my smallest rotary cutter, I could cut straight around the lid without marking it.
Presto, chango, and you have yourself a Christmas ornament. Pretty easy, but be careful to keep everything centered. Mine ended up just a little wonky. Anyway...watch the video. Super simple, and pretty quick.
And it's good that it was quick because I could barely wait to cut into the bread. The crumb is nice, and it tasted good. Still, I was hoping for a more holey sourdough crumb.
I've done some reading online, and I've learned that kneading with an electric mixer gives a more dense crumb because the kneading is more vigorous. This time around, I stopped when the dough started to climb the dough hook. It was better than my first loaf, but still not what I was after.
In the meantime, I also had a new start on the no-knead-baked-in-a-Dutch-oven bread. This starter worked way better than the first. I doubled the amount of instant yeast from 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon and used a little more water for better distribution. After about 7 hours, it had nearly tripled in volume.
And there was plenty of bubbling action going on. I let that sit on the counter overnight. When I got up this morning, it hadn't risen any more, and in fact, the center had collapsed a little bit. This is to be expected when the dough is full of air. Sometimes it can't support itself and so it caves in.
So, this morning, I shaped it into a loaf for its second rise, and then went for a walk with Sue. The Christmas ornament and one of the loaves of bread were for her. She gave me some yummy cookies and a card. Mike and I made short work of the cookies.
We were halfway expecting rain for our walk, but none came. Along the way, we paused to admire this view. "Pastoral" is the word that comes to mind.
Farther on, we paused to talk with our friends, the cows. They weren't much interested in conversation, except for this one. She said not a word, but eyed us carefully.
When we reached our cars and headed for home, I called Mike and had him turn on the oven. It just needed a few minutes more after I arrived home, and then I flipped this loaf into the preheated Dutch oven. You might think I'd learn to avoid this, but I still managed to flip cornmeal all over the kitchen in the process. One of these days I'll think about it before I do it. It baked with the lid on for 30 minutes, and then needed 10 minutes more without the lid. When it came out, it smelled so good.
And there's that holey crumb I was hoping for. No-knead...that made a difference. I might have to guts up and knead by hand if I'm going to get the crumb I want consistently.
So today I'm cooking. And tomorrow I'm cooking. And Christmas Day, I'm relaxing. This will be my last blog post before Monday morning.
Whatever your plans, I hope you have a safe and happy holiday and a Merry Christmas. Sadie, Smitty and I will be right back here on Monday morning, and no doubt, we'll have lots to tell you.