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My First Oven-Baked Bread for Thanksgiving

November 26, 2010
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This was my first time to use oven to bake bread (before used bread machine). I had been wanting to try the no-knead bread recipe since it came out in 2006.

I followed the original recipe but tuned it to suit my case. Since my order of the digital scale hasn’t arrived, I could only use volume to measure the quantities:

  • 3 Cup flour (2 AP + 1 WW)
  • 1 5/8 tsp salt
  • 3/8 tsp active dry yeast (direct into the mix)
  • 1 5/8 Cup filtered water

After mixing, it looked pretty sloppy.

Then went back to look at the video and realized that it’s 1 1/2C water used in the video. This dough was way too wet. Anyway, I still continued the process. Atfer two hours at room temperature, I put the dough (inside a plastic bag) into the fridge.

Here are a series of photos of the long cold-fermentation process.

With another hour at room temperature (total 58.5 hr), I streched and folded the dough. It’s so wet that even with plenty flour it’s very difficult to handle the dough.

I let it sit for 15 min and then transferred it onto a kitchen towel with flour & cornmeals. Covered for 2.5 hr for the 2nd rise. The dough did rise quite a lot (but in a flat round shape).

When I tried to put it into the big stainless stew pot (preheated in the oven at 500F), I couldn’t let it slide into the pot. The dough was so wet that it sticked to the towel. I tried to use the chopping mat but it still sticked to that. In the end, I had to scrabed the dough down.

I was worried that this might delate the dough quite a lot. But when I removed the cover after 30min, I noticed the bread was all right. So happy that I forgot to lower the oven temperature to 450 until 8 min later. I let it baked at 450 for another 8 min before took the bread out.

It looked not bad right? Initially I shaped it into a round “disk” (it’s too soft to be shaped into a ball), but it became oval when I tried very hard to let it slide into the pot. I even slashed the dough but it’s all gone during that process.

Look at this caramalized crust!

I brought this bread for the Thanksgiving dinner at my supervisor’s house. I had the honor to cut my bread and took the picture.

When I saw the crumb like that, I knew it’s going to be good. And indeed, it’s very chewy inside! I was very proud of my bread. Well, for a newbie, this was a big success.

The pot I used is the big one below. I removed the knob before baking.

If I didn’t have the trouble of sliding this extremely wet dough into the pot, the bread would likely rise higher than the above.

I estimate the hydration in my dough to be around 90%, much higher than Mark Bittman’s in his later note (80%). Next time I would definitely lower the water amount. I would like to try no-knead bageutte. :-)

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