- The dough is VERY wet and goopy, just on this side of a batter.
- They are made with a very long first fermenting, such as overnight or longer.
- The dough is handled very little, hence the name "No-knead"
- They are baked in a small, enclosed space, to trap moisture and enhance the crust. (Hmmm... Sounds like a dutch oven...)
- The crumb structure is full of large holes.
One Off", made a loaf, and spelled out the directions so clearly that I thought I'd give it a try. This particular recipe and procedure reminds me a lot of the French Bread I did a while back. It, too, has a long ferment time (a preferment, in fact), and it also uses only the basic four ingredients (flour, water, salt, yeast).
No-Knead Dutch Oven Basic Bread ("Pain Ordinaire" in french)
12" Dutch Oven
10-12 Coals below
19-23 Coals above
(use higher numbers in colder weather)
- 6 Cups of Bread Flour
- 1/2 tsp Active Dry Yeast
- 2 1/2 tsp Salt
- 3 1/4 C Water
I started the day before, at about 4:00 in the afternoon, by mixing the ingredients. You might notice that my ingredients are double that of Matt's. He baked his in a terra cotta flower pot, and that's a little tighter quarters than a dutch oven. I mixed the dry ingredients first, whisking them all together, then added the water. Afterward, I adjusted the consistency by adding a bit of flour (if it needs, you could add water instead). From what I've seen and read, you want it to be goopy, but not a batter. It should still stick to the sides of the bowl. It should have enough liquid to jiggle in the bowl, but not be runny.
I covered it with plastic wrap and set it aside on my kitchen countertop.
The next day, at about 11:00 or so in the morning, I saw that it had puffed up very nicely. I put a lot of flour out on my countertop and, with a spatula, dumped the dough out onto it. It immediately flattened out pretty nicely, but I dusted the top with some flour and spread it just a bit more. I picked up both sides, right and left, and did a "letter fold". By that, I mean that I brought one side two-thirds of the way over toward the other side, then folded the second side fully over that. I dusted it with more flour, turned it, and did it again. Then, I did it a third time, just because, I guess.
Finally, I put some parchment paper in a bowl. I picked up the dough (with heavily floured hands) and wrapped it into a boule and set it in the bowl, on the parchment. I set that aside for another rise. The plan is to let it rise for a couple of hours.
After about an hour, I started some coals up. My coals must've been a bit damp, because I had a tough time lighting them. A half hour or so later, I had some lit, but not strongly, and not as many as I'd have liked. Still, I put them under and on an empty, oiled dutch oven to preheat. Meanwhile, I tried to get more coals lit and burning. It just wasn't happening like I would have liked.
At some point I decided that the dutch oven was hot enough and I gently lowered the dough and the parchment into the dutch oven. I folded the remaining parchment over and put on the lid. By then, I had some more coals ready and I added them to heat it up some more.
It tasted really good the next day, too. I don't know how well it will preserve over the week because it's already gone. I guess that's a good sign, right?
Mark has discovered a love of Dutch Oven Cooking. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including MarkHansenMusic.com and his MoBoy blog.