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Old 11-18-2006, 07:35 PM   #41
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Thanks bullseye. So how would I do that with this recipe (can you tell I never bake)?

Would I just replace the water part with warm water (what is the right temp to proof yeast) and let it sit for about 15 minutes and then combine everything?
I'm not a great baker myself, GB, but you would use 100-115* water (some say add a little sugar), and reduce the recipe's liquid by the amount of the proof liquid. The need for proofing seems to have something to do with the difference in particle size in the different types of yeast.
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Old 11-18-2006, 09:06 PM   #42
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I keep playing with the bread. I greased the pan and had an even better crust but the baked on grease was too hard to clean off so I won't do that again.

Also, this time, I put cornmeal on my plastic cutting board, covered the bread with Pam sprayed saran wrap and then covered it with a towel. I worked just the same and I didn't have those horrible messy towels.

I love this bread.

Speaking of Pyrex, it isn't supposed to go in that hot of an oven, is it?
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Old 11-18-2006, 09:30 PM   #43
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Thanks bullseye. So how would I do that with this recipe (can you tell I never bake)?

Would I just replace the water part with warm water (what is the right temp to proof yeast) and let it sit for about 15 minutes and then combine everything?
You don't have to proof it. You can use warm water if you want to. or NOT. Don't make this hard!!!!! ;o)
It is EASY.
The only thing I think that people are doing possibly "wrong" is not flouring the turned out "sponge" enough. As I have said, i turn it out onto the counter with a goodly amount of flour on it, put the dough on it, and a bit more flour on top. Then just scrape the dough from the bottom back over the top to get a bit more flour in it.
I also try not to completely deflate it.
Form into the ball very lightly--it doesn't really sit up in a ball like a kneaded ball. It is pretty flat.
Put it on the towel. the last loaf I made I used bran to "flour' the towel. If you are getting a lot of sticky dough in your towel I think you don't have enough flour incorporated. It is NOT terribly sticky on the towel--it is very soft, pliable, relilient when poked.
Someone on another board put the towel into a colander and said that helped to turn it out.
Dont' grease the pan. Don't add sugar.

Sorry I didn't see this until now--I did answer the other new question about yeast. I have made this 4 or 5 times now-I'd be glad to help.
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Old 11-18-2006, 09:33 PM   #44
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Thanks Gretchen. I will keep it easy and just use it as if it were instant. I can't wait to taste the results. My wife picked the wrong time to go on a low carb diet.
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Old 11-19-2006, 05:43 AM   #45
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This recipe is sweeping the internet and I'm a bit surprised that more here have not tried it. It came out 10 days ago and is the most e-mailed letter (I think in history) to the Times!!
On other cooking boards there are literally HUNDREDS of posts with results, tweaks, questions, ooohs, and aaaahs about it. Lots of different combos of flours, herb additions. I like it just straight.
Bread flour IS a big yes. ONe person used White Lily flour and another pastry flour with naturally disastrous results. However, I have just found White Lily BREAD flour--I am sure it is new, because I would have bought it previously. Lovely stuff.
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Old 11-19-2006, 08:31 AM   #46
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I started the process at 11 last night and my dough is looking great now. I can't wait (but will) to get this into the oven and then into my mouth.
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Old 11-19-2006, 09:14 AM   #47
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I have done the bread 3 times now. I have been using the no-knead, long slow rise for a couple years, but the hot pan idea is new to me.

Don't sweat the details. Any kind of yeast, as long as it is alive, will work. I use generic AP flour--works fine.

Length of rise and kitchen temp can vary, too. This time of year, my kitchen is cold (60), unless the oven is on. I make the dough the night before, and bake it almost 24 hours after I mix it.

And last week, I mixed it on Tuesday for a Wednesday bake--well, duh, forgot I had a meeting on Wednesday. Baked it on Thursday, and it came out ok. (Not as good as before, but ok.)

Add some more flour and some olive oil to the recipe, and you will have the best pizza ever.
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Old 11-19-2006, 09:25 AM   #48
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What oven temp do you all use? In the recipe it says 450, but when I watched the video from the NY times they said 500 or even 515.
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Old 11-19-2006, 09:27 AM   #49
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I have a question about the baking pot ... I have an 8 quart Calphalon (hard andodized - spelling?) stock pot. My question is about the sides, they are quite tall, will this affect the result? I guess I'm picturing my pyrex and it is all short and squat, not as tall as the stock pot. And I'm still perplexed by the towel thing. Why can't you just let it do it's next rise back in the bowl covered with a towel? I tried to see the video (at NYTimes) someone referenced but they wanted $4.95 to just read the article ...

AND ALSO ... someone talked about having a colder kitchen. Ours hovers right about 65 this time of year. How much longer do I need to factor the rise?

Oh my ... this might be too much for my linear brain to wrap itself around. I might have to just stick to the old way!
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Old 11-19-2006, 09:31 AM   #50
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Maybe this link will work for the free video.
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Old 11-19-2006, 09:39 AM   #51
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Don't worry about the kitchen temp. That is where mine is. You just let it rise until you are ready--or you think it is.

The towel thing. It is the vehicle you NEED to convey the dough to the baking pot. This dough is so soft (I am going to try to get away from "wet") that you could not pick it up and have it hold its shape.
Get your pot hot (more later) as directed. Take the lid off and put the bottom somewhere convenient--perhaps in your sink which would be below your counter top. Take the towel by the edges and begin to roll and lift it until the dough literally "plops" into the bottom of the pan. Put the lid on and back to the oven. If the blob of dough goes a bit wonky on a side, just shake the pot to staighten it out.

In the pictures in the paper (I haven't seen the video either), it shows the guy dumping the towel. There is this CLOUD of bran (that he used) coming up from it. And note, you are dumping the TOP of your dough so be sure that there is enough cornmeal or bran or flour on it. It will be the bottom and you need to keep it from sticking--just as you would if baking bread or a pizza on a baking stone. This is the same idea.
I have an 8qt. "knockoff" calphalon pot and I think it would be fine. The premise of this recipe is to create a small oven in a large oven for the purpose of steam and heat.
Not sure about your Pyrex but I would try the stockpot first. Many have done it in stockpots.

Go for it!!! The old way. I will submit you will not get better bread "the old way". This bread looks like it came from a boulangerie or Panera Bread--a true artisanal loaf!! CRUSTY, pully, holey!! I have dreamed for years of making anything close to this.
Again, I say to ALL, don't make this hard.
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Old 11-19-2006, 09:42 AM   #52
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Thank you GB - that was VERY helpful! I question the discrepancy in the temps too ... ?
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Old 11-19-2006, 09:47 AM   #53
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Thank you Gretchen ... After I saw the video, I kind of get the towel thing. I think when I see such easy things like this, I tend to get suspicious and think, alright, where's the catch ... you know?
I'm going to try this today / tomorrow ...
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Old 11-20-2006, 08:34 AM   #54
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I baked my bread last night. I decided to go with a 500 degree oven as the video mentioned. When I took the lid off after baking for a half hour it looked perfect. I should have pulled it out of the oven then, but I did not trust myself so I followed the instructions and went another 15 minutes without the lid. My wife came about about 14 minutes into it and said it smelled like it was burning. I checked just as my timer was going off and sure enough it was too dark on top. It was not burned, but a few seconds more and it would have been.

The bread is amazing. I love it so much. I will be starting another one tomorrow and will bake it on Wed. to bring to dinner on Thurs. I have a feeling I will be making this often.
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Old 11-20-2006, 10:35 AM   #55
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I made mine yesterday.

I made it exactly per the recipe except that I didn't have instant yeast, and instead used active dry.

My two observations about the recipe are: too much water and not enough salt. I sort of knew about these issues, as there is a lot of discussion of this recipe on other foodie sites.

Salt is a palate thing, but I think it needs a bit more.

The water thing was a slight problem. It was humid when I was making the bread, so I probably should have adjusted, but I wanted to follow the recipe.

The "sponge" worked great. Took it out of the bowl the next morning and turned it out onto a floured countertop. It was really runny. I needed a lot more flour than the recipe called for just to absorb pooled liquid.

I didn't want to add too much flour (IMO it could have taken at least a cup more) so I turned it onto a floured towel in it's "loose" state.

It really didn't rise as much as it doubled in size outward.

When it came time to plop into the heated LC oven, it was so wet that it soaked through the flour and stuck to the towel. I had to rip the towel away, which deflated the bread somewhat from its already flat state.

I baked for less time than it called for both covered and uncovered because I thought the time seemed too long and I was right. Bread is done when it achieves an internal temp of 210 degress. Mine browned really well and came to 210 in about 10 min less than the recipe called for.

The bread had excellent, excellent crust and a wonderful texture. Clearly the best bread I have ever made, except for the fact that it's only 2 inches thick at it's highest. Oh well.

And there was a small problem with a slight garlic taste, possibly because I had justy made Jambalaya in the french oven....

I think I'll use less water, a bit more salt, and am considering using parchment paper instead of a towel. Anyone have an opinion on parchment paper? I am a bit worried that it will be too slippery and will cause the dough to slide outward instead of rising up.

Anyway -- it's fantastic bread and I'm going to make it again for Tgiving.
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Old 11-20-2006, 10:40 AM   #56
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Jenny I had some similar experiences as you. My bread stuck to the towel and I had to tear it off as I dumped it into my LC. Mine also is about 2 inches or so at its highest point.

I am thinking of trying parchment as well.

Jenny here is my question for you...how to you clean the towel that the dough stuck to? I do not want to just put it in the wash and gum up my washing machine. Is there a trick that you know of?

My bread was also the best bread I have ever made by far. I can't wait to make my next one.
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Old 11-20-2006, 07:26 PM   #57
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here is my question for you...how to you clean the towel that the dough stuck to? I do not want to just put it in the wash and gum up my washing machine. Is there a trick that you know of?
hi GB

soak/scrub the towel in *cold* water - if you use hot it will kinda "set" the dough and flour into the towel and it will be harder to get off. When you've gotten off the worst of it, then you can throw it in the washer as usual.

I can't wait to try this recipe! It is all the rage.
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Old 11-20-2006, 07:29 PM   #58
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Thanks subfuscpersona. I will give that a shot.
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Old 11-20-2006, 07:53 PM   #59
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I used my plastic cutting board with lots of flour on it, a piece of saran wrap that I had sprayed with Pam and put a towel over that. It came out as well as using the towels covered in flour.

I'll never lay it on a cloth towel again. That was a huge mess.
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Old 11-20-2006, 08:01 PM   #60
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I like that plan HB. That is what I will do Wed. when I make my next loaf.
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