Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Bread: It takes a village

For the last six weeks or so, I've been baking two or three loaves of bread a week. It's Mark Bittman's No-Knead Bread recipe, and it's sweeping the nation, or at least the bread-loving segment of the nation. Most of my loaves have come out lovely, with the exception of the loaf I tried to make with the bran-speckled organic stuff my wife brought home. My standard loaf is now Bittman's recipe with the addition of a generous handful of sesame seeds on top. For those of you keeping score at home, I put them on the towel before setting the shaped dough on the towel for the last couple hours.

A few loaves have, however, tended to look a little flat, spreading out to maybe 10" wide. I did a little poking on the Internets for a solution, and you really would not believe how many people are talking about and baking this very recipe. It looks like I'm just making a wetter dough by spooning flour into the measuring cup (you get less flour smooshed into the cup) rather than just dipping the measuring cup into the flour bag (squashing a larger quantity of flour into the cup). The solution, of course, is to measure by weight, but I'm not sure I have an accurate scale.

The really cool find, though, is the gazillion-odd pictures you get from Flickr when you search for "No-knead bread". Seriously, every shape and color and defect of bread you could imagine, from mouth-watering perfection to some blobby, vaguely bread-like objects. Is it possible that we're all reading the same recipe? But how totally great that so many people are making time for the ultimate slow food!

Cheers, my bakin' homies.

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