Tonight I baked up my second loaf of no knead bread. The first batch was promising, but was a bit dense. I used ordinary all purpose flour, and for whatever reason, I didn't seem to get as high of a rise as I thought I should. This time, I decided to try some King Arthur unbleached bread flour, and made sure that I got the yeast well mixed into the dough. I also chose the top of my fridge as the best location to give it arise (the weather has been cold, and the top of the fridge is a bit warmer). That seemed to be a good move: the dough seemed quite a bit livelier.
I turned it out onto a floured towel for its two hour rest/rise. I then started to work on my Christmas hat project, and got absorbed in what I was doing. Two and a half hours later, I remembered that I had bread sitting out, and set the oven (and my Dutch oven) preheating for thirty minutes. When I flopped the dough in, it stuck to the towel (next time more flour on the towel, and perhaps less time sitting on the counter). That mucked up the top a tiny bit, but I flopped it into the Dutch oven. Into the oven. Thirty minutes covered, and twenty uncovered.
Smell: good. Looks, well, check it out for yourself:
As it was cooling on the rack, I could hear the outer crust crackling. Tapping it, the bread sounded nice and hallow, and the crust was very dry and crackly. Slicing into it, the inners were much less dense than my previous entrant, with many larger holes. The flavor was even better than the first loaf: light, yeasty and delicious. I think going the extra five minutes uncovered was actually a mistake: it made the outer crust just a little too dry. Also, the bottom of the loaf is a bit tougher and thicker than I would like, but the flavor is still good.
I proclaim this a complete success. Yum.
The creator of the no-knead bread, Jim Lahey, has a book entitled My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method which looks good. Perhaps it will show up in my Christmas stocking. 🙂