10 April 2009

Kneadless Bread Experiment

The much loved bread machine is gathering dust in the far corner of the cupboard, I can't remember the last time I took it out, I've been making the fabulous kneadless bread every week, ever since my second attempt, when I sussed it.

And the last few times, I've become confident enough to start experimenting. Generally I quite like seeds in bread, so I've been doing that, but last week I swapped 1 dl of the flour for rye flour. I added half a teaspoon of vitamin C powder. This is something recommended in the recipe collection for the bread machine and the reason for this is because rye doesn't develop gluten and so doesn't rise and the vitamin C is supposed to help as a rising agent. It turned out very nice, though I couldn't tell much difference to the non-rye breads.

Today I made fairly drastic changes - not only did I swap 1 dl of the wheat flour for wholemeal, I used fresh yeast - about 20 g, which looked like 2 tsp. At least according the sachets of quick yeast, they weigh 7 g and correspond to 15 g fresh yeast. True 1 tsp of quick yeast is about half a packet, so my calculations were well off. But the yeast was a bit old and dry at the edges, so I didn't think there would be too much life in it.
Well there was...


This was after less than 3 h. I let some of the gas out that was pushing the cast iron lid up, but an hour later, I was forced to move the whole goo to the big salad bowl and keep it there. That did the trick.

But after I set it to rise, I decided that there's no way it would fit back into the usual casserole I bake it in, so I went for my deep ovenproof frying pan. This doesn't have a lid, so my next improvisation was from my Focaccia escapade the other week (which I didn't follow at the time). Place a small dish at the bottom of the oven and let it heat up at the same time as the main bread dish. Then immediately after putting the bread in, pour a cup of cold water into this heated up dish, thus creating a lot of steam, which is crucial for a good crunchy crust.

Well, the bread baked, it's bigger, but flatter. It did make the right crackling noises when it started to cool.

We'll try it tomorrow for breakfast. I think it worked.

One thing that has started happening is that despite being ridiculously generous with flour and polenta on the towels where I put the dough to rise etc, it still manages to seep through and sticks to the towel and makes things quite messy. Maybe I need to reduce the liquid a bit. Today, after I mixed the standard recipe, it looked almost as dry as my very first attempt, so I added a further half a decilitre of water, it's tricky.

Lundulph came over to inspect the situation too and called it porridge bread. It really did look like porridge.

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