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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Just Loafing Around

As you can see (unless you are blind ... sorry Blogger police, I didn't see you!) the bread has risen. Risen and been baked. Almost all eaten.

The recipe I followed is from King Arthur Flour. The recipe for French-Style Country Bread is here.

My modification is to knead it a la Richard Bertinet (see yesterday's post, I Knead Some Bread), for a video. The top picture in my montage (Al [there is a LINK there!] taught me that word) is of Richard's book. This is one of my treasures. If you ask nicely, I will guide you through a pizza later. For a start, there will have to be more than 2 of you visiting my site, as at present (and that is counting me). Matthew, is that traffic density above yours?

I use instant dry yeast. Not much is needed and you can just mix it in with the flour. Hassle free. Not free though!

Read on, there is an amazing comic strip following....

The other change is to cook it in a large casserole dish, as done in the Sullivan St No-Knead Bread technique. I have spritzed the oven with water in the past, and tried a tray of water. Apart from scalding myself, it was successful. Feel free to experiment. I do have to watch closely in the first few minutes to make sure the bread has not burst out. The dish has a diameter, that is all the way across (for Al) of, where is my ruler?
"Ugyen, where did you put my ruler?"
"Here, inside the drawer in your desk."
"Well, please don't hide my things away in future."

As I was saying, of about 24 cm and height of 11 cm (not counting the lid).

On with the comic...

Send me an email if you would like the recipe, or the comic, or to give me some ideas from your bread baking experiences ... in the comments below.

Or  write a comment if you want me to give you a large sum of money. I would do anything to hear from someone out there in the blogosphere. Does the blogosphere have a diameter?
"Ugyen, where have you put my ruler now?"

P.S. Sorry, Ted. I forgot the question mark in the comic. Too late to fix it now.


  1. Greetings from Islamabad Mark,
    Just read your post at TFL; well done on your bread baking, I am in the same state as you as the bread here is sweet so I started baking when we moved here more than two years ago. I also started with no-knead but left all that behind with books from Reinhart, DiMuzio, Hamelman etc.
    I attended a 5 day bread baking course at Richard Bertinet's school last month in Bath, it was great, nothing like on hand experience and he is a super teacher. Once you start working the dough with Richard's method you enjoy the feel of the dough more and more.
    Good luck,

  2. Your loaf is beautiful! What elevation are you at and how does that affect your baking?

    I bake in whatever container (if any) suits my need so instead of buying a lot of fancy pans, I look at what's in the cupboard.I'm trying to not accumulate more "stuff".Less is more.

    Regards from around the world and a lot closer to sea level!
    Caroline-fellow "FreshLoafer"

  3. Hi Stefan
    Great to have a reader in Islamabad. What are you doing there?
    Yes, the thing about the no-knead is that there is no kneading, and that is the part that makes bread baking. The other day I had my eyes on a very expensive mixer, but remembered that I needed to knead.
    Which of those books do you recommend? Hamelman is on my wish list. Have you got Richard's second book, Crust?
    Thanks again,

  4. That loaf came out quite well. It must have known it was being filmed!
    I like the "less is more" approach. The other day I spotted a fancy looking digital set of scales. You see my orange set is not that accurate. They work though. Not good on weighing the yeast though. There are times when I would like "more" to be available.

    Thimphu is at 2320 m (7656 ft). I am on the fourth floor, so add on a few more metres. Before I came here, I had never used instant yeast, so it is hard to compare. I do know that the bread always seems to rise well, even in the cold of winter. My success with baking powder has been limited. My scones always disappoint. I blame the baking powder supplier. It could be my fault though.

    I miss the sea, but gain the mountains.

    Where are you, and do you have a favourite loaf?

  5. Hi Mark,
    My wife is with the Canadian High Commission and I am "sort of" retired; plenty of time in my hands, I bake everyday. A joy, really.
    Yes I do have Richard's Crust, very good book, and I would recommend Reinhart's BBA, I didn't have the opportunity of baking many recipes from Hamelman yet.
    Forget spending money on a mixer, mine I haven't used since I returned from the UK. It's so much more fun to work the dough as Bertinet says.
    You do need a good digital scale though.
    Keep in touch.

  6. Ok, I will see if I can get the Hamelman. I was thinking about digital scales. My bread works ok, but measuring the yeast is not accurate. Is that the advantage of the digital scale?

  7. You will read a lot about weight vs. volume in TFL, digital scales is a must as far as accurate measuring of flour (cups is a big problem), water, starter etc. get one, you won't be sorry, also an instant read thermometer.

  8. Yes, I have spent some time reading up in TFL. Just yesterday I found a post about measuring small amounts. The digital scales I saw (the only ones I have seen here) go up to 30kg. Think they are meant for vegetable sellers at the market. I was lucky to find my rathe unreliable orange scales. I like Mark Sinclair's method of dividing a larger weight up. With the flour, there is a degree of flexibility, isn't there. Each time you mix up the dough, we have to judge the consistency. Do you have a standard loaf you make each day?
    Not much chance of an instant read thermometer here. Unless I ask the science teacher at school. Cheers, Mark

  9. I make a bulk dough of abt 1.2 to 1.5 kg which I keep in the fridge; I bake from that for 2 days a few loaves, it usually consists of 300 gm of sourdough starter, 1 kg of white strong flour or 950 gm of white and 50 gm of rye or whole wheat, 720 to 770 gm of water, some trace of instant yeast abt 5 gm (SAF as the one you use I guess) which is one tsp. Autolyse for 30 mins and then add the ferment and yeast, mix and then work the dough, add the salt after 5 mins. You come to feel the dough but I usually rely on the scales, same as weighing portions of the dough I always weigh them, 500-600 gms for a boule to make a nice round loaf, 200 gm for baguettes.
    I guess you have to go back to NZ for buying the thermometer and the scales, what about a baking stone?
    The joys of baking don't come cheap but that's the fun.

  10. Thanks for that recipe and hints Stefan. I usually have an ongoing pizza dough in the fridge. No stone. I do have flour! ;) "Have flour will make bread!"