Tuesday, January 23, 2007

"Unconventional bread baking" and "experiment" are probably two concepts that do not need to ever mix in my kitchen, ever again.

After making two successful regular loaves of no-knead bread (the undying trend) I thought, well, surely I can mix this up a bit. I figured I would just swap out for some whole wheat flour and also some wheat bran to make it whole-grain-y and what could go wrong? Bread baking is not really the arena to try out your half-baked theories, though, and after 24 hours the dough still looked much as it did when I first stirred it, with some possible bubbles perhaps deep on the inside.

I plunged forward, let it rise again, and baked it anyway (side note to everyone wanting to spend $ on a Le Creuset oven for this bread- a Le Creuset oven is wonderful and very useful, but for this purpose I find my infinitely cheaper Lodge cast iron oven provides a superior crust).

The result was crazy dense and looked like nothing so much as a meteorite. Sliced and toasted, it was... not terrible. I am sure there are refined-flour shunning hippies out there who even eat worse tasting bread on purpose. I'm eating it and grimacing this week, but next week suspect I may return to conventional bread baking techniques (starting with, oh, a recipe) to make a whole grain loaf, because unlike the white flour, wheat bran free version, this was nowhere near as good as bakery-bought.


Anonymous said...

Have you seen this thread at egullet? http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=95345&st=0
Lots of good tips in it for making modifications to the original recipe. Through my own experimentation, I've found that King Arthur unbleached makes a far better loaf than Gold Medal Harvest King.

Hannah said...

Oh, am all about the King Arthur.

That thread is possibly more no-knead information than I can ever process (who am I kidding, spent all my lunch hour reading it and taking notes), but has given me some ideas to try another whole-wheat version (I think I needed more water?).

Anonymous said...

I used to work at Oberlin College, crunchy hippie haven that it is, and this bread looks like that which was made in one of the student dining co-ops. The one where they don't use any refined products, are almost totally vegan, and don't use most forms of sugar (including unrefined beet sugar - they voted against that), molasses, or most other conventional ingredients.

So I am sure there are refined-flour shunning hippies out there who even eat worse tasting bread on purpose. made me laugh out loud.

Anonymous said...

Your whole-grain attempt is so different than mine, and yet neither of them worked. Maybe whole grain is just not compatible with this method. I'm going to try again with all white flour, but maybe not until I'm done with my wedding diet.