Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pot Bread

The inside of the second loaf.

Have you all ever heard of pot bread? I know I hadn't until I was perusing through one of my favorite blogs and happened upon the recipe. I'm a visual person and just by the looks of the bread in the photo I decided that It was a must try, it was also a great way to use the Rachel Ray cast iron casserole dish that was begging to come off the kitchen bench. I made this recipe twice trying out the different fermenting times that were suggested. This recipe said that the dough would need to ferment between 12 to 18 hours  and then after a final addition of butter it would need to sit for another 2 hours or so. I decided to follow the exact measurements (outside of letting my bread sit in a about 1/2 cup olive oil while it fermented) and use a 12 hour fermenting period the first time and see what my results would be. The bread from the first batch was absolutely wonderful. The crust was crispy and buttery and the inside was just a chewy goodness. The bread was so flavorful that it didn't need any butter or cheese in my opinion. I gave my first batch 2 thumbs up! I have a pretty large oval cast iron pot to put the bread in but it did not fill the pot enough to give me the height I would like my loaves to have, so for my second try I decided to do one and a half times the recipe and I also let it sit for the full 18 hours. When I checked the bread in the morning to mix in the butter it was bubbling like swamp thing but it smelled fine. After it rose a second time and the dough was placed in the oven I noticed the scent of great bread still filled the house so I assumed everything was fine. When I took the bread out it had the same wonderful crust and color but after my first taste I realized that my dough was reminiscent of sourdough. I am a fan of sourdough but that s not what I was going for and it was a hit or miss amongst the family whereas the first one was a absolute hit. I would recommend letting this dough sit only for 12 hours and I would like to tell everyone that I didn't use all purpose flour but bread flour. When making breads where you want to achieve a chewy texture bread flour/high gluten flour is the way to go.
The first loaf

The inside of the first loaf.

The outside of the second loaf.

No-Knead White Bread (

4 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp instant yeast
1 3⁄4 cups + 2 tbsp ice water
2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, salt, yeast and ice water until well combined. Dough should be thick and slightly sticky. Add a few tablespoons more flour if dough is too soft; add a bit more water if it is too dry and the flour is not incorporating well. Brush top of dough with some vegetable oil to prevent sticking, then cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 12-18 hours.
Pour melted butter into risen dough and stir vigorously, until well incorporated. Cover bowl again and let dough rise for 2 – 2 1/2 hours.
Preheat oven to 450F. Place a dutch oven inside for about 20 minutes, until both it and the oven are hot.
Remove dutch oven from oven and, working carefully, pour bread dough into the dutch oven, trying to deflate it as little as possible. Sprinkle with water and put the lid on the oven.
Lower oven temperature to 425F. Bake bread for 50 minutes with the lid on. Check the bread to see if it is browning. If not, remove the lid at this point. Bake for an additional 20 minutes. Check the bread with an instant-read thermometer and when it has reached about 207F it is done.
Turn bread out onto a wire rack to cool before slicing.
Makes 1 large loaf

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