Thursday, March 26, 2009

Almost No-Knead (SOURDOUGH) Bread x2 (3 Variations)

After bringing to life my colony of bacteria*, and naming it Edwina, I wondered, "Could I make bread using Edwina and the fabulous "almost no-knead bread" method? It sure would be swell if I could. The ANKB recipe from Cook's Illustrated approximates the flavor of sourdough, but I wanted the ease of that method with real sourdough flavor. They say good things come in "three's", and as it turns out, they're right. Here are three variations of no-knead sourdough bread: Rustic Sourdough, Brown Rice & Flax Seed Sourdough, and Maple Oatmeal Sourdough. Great article, great recipes, and more great advice available on the author's blog** (another set of 3 good things!).

The Maine Ingredient - by Anne Mahle
The Portland Press Herald

 [[UPDATE!...If that link doesn't work, the article and recipes can also be found here]]

My Notes: Rustic Sourdough... have made many times now. Have had some trouble with the bottoms of the loaves getting too dark. To combat this, I put the oven rack one position up from bottom, put the pizza stone on the bottom rack and put an extra two layers of parchment in bottom of the Dutch ovens. Takes full 60 min. to get to internal temp. Eight-hour rise worked better even though my yeast is not "rapid-rise". Have yet to get to the other two variations, only because I never remember to make the bread when I have leftover cooked rice or cooked oatmeal on hand (and don't get me started on the ridiculous cost of maple syrup).

Notes (11/21/09): Started this yesterday, but had some difficulty trying to work it around some last minute plans that came up. I couldn't get the timing to come out right, so I decided to try refrigerating the dough at some mid-point and buy myself some time. Followed recipe method up to: forming the loaves and putting them in the prepped pans. I then wrapped the pans with plastic wrap and put them in the fridge. Four hours later, after I got home, I took them out, loosened the wrapping and let them sit for two hours. At that point I decided to follow the CI directions and preheated the oven to 500° (with the Dutch ovens inside). Once to temperature, I transferred the dough to the pots, put the lids back on and dropped the oven temp to 425°. Baked at 425° for 30 minutes, removed lids and continued baking for another 30 minutes. Both loaves read 208° on the internal thermometer so I pronounced them done. The loaves look and smell beautiful, and more importantly, neither is burnt on the bottom (even without the extra layers of paper that I forgot to put under them). They turned out really great and I'm thrilled that I can refrigerate the dough without harming it!***

*Otherwise known as a sourdough starter.
The blog artichokes&asparagus has lots of information regarding the care and feeding of sourdough starters. Great info there, check out all the posts under "Breads".
***Bread-People probably know all about refrigerating dough, but I feel like I just discovered that I have opposable thumbs. Now I can make this bread on MY schedule!
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