Ed bought me a red, a deep red, Emile Henry Dutch oven, in which to bake my rustic no-knead bread. You have to plan ahead when baking this simple bread (Peasant Bread, Kneadlessly Simple, 2009), no rushed last minute cravings – this bread demands a schedule, flexible but held to by human awake/asleep hours; extending over two days, some 24 hours, 20 minutes to 37 hours, 50 minutes leading to (a sort of delayed gratification) beautiful, hot, crusty peasant bread! I used an electric mixer to mix the dough – this was not done with a dough hook and was not considered a kneading step. The taste of the bread develops in the refrigerator which means a long time chilling (3 to 10 hours already incorporated into the total time) allows you to accomplish other tasks and not hover over the dough. Since my mixing bowl was large I used it throughout the chilling and raising periods which made cleaning up a breeze: 1 spatula, 1 mixing bowl, 1 Dutch oven X time = a rounded brown boule.
I will still continue to use my bread machine and refine my techniques, last weekend I made an excellent yogurt bread which is very close in taste to sour dough bread. I found another artisan recipe using sour cream that I plan to make next. I am glad that each method I use makes only one loaf at a time since bread is full of carbohydrates (memo to self: search out wheat, whole grain, and multi-grain recipes). The next no-knead bread I make will be Jim Lahey’s “Prefect Bread,” which I am looking forward to …
When my oldest was little I used to hand-make two loaves of bread a week for the family. The first rise would find us walking the full circuit around Mattapoisett village (4 blocks by 5 blocks), Careid in her stroller pointing out her swings, her beach, her grandparent’s “castle.” We would return in time to punch down the dough and make lunch. Careid would sleep through the second rising and waken to the smell of bread baking in the oven. My favorite breads were Anadama and swirled light and dark rye. I considered bread making an art form – my loaves were as perfectly formed and baked so that when sliced the air holes were small and consistent throughout the loaf, and there was no gummy layer at the bottom. I had high expectations. Bread making became a special occasion pastime and then was delegated to the back burner as my two children grew up and I was required to spend longer hours at work. My bread machine brought bread making back into my life – now I am ready to tackle sour dough starters and sharpen up on the lingo!