Monday, August 31, 2009

chuck hughes' no knead bread

Even though I watch a lot of food programming (read; A LOT), I don't have a huge desire to attempt all those TV creations. Sure, I definitely use the shows for inspiration, but mostly entertainment <--- food nerd anyone! However, when I saw Chuck Hughes' (Chuck's Day Off) attempt a no knead bread recipe my ears perked up. I was already in the middle of a few baking adventures, so I made a mental note of the recipe and dug in; hoping I wouldn't forget any steps.

Right away I realized it wasn't your typical long rise no knead, as Chuck starts with 1 tablespoon of yeast (normal recipes call for 1/4 teaspoon). Along with the yeast he adds 3 cups of warm water, 1 tbl of sugar, vinegar, salt, oil and 3 cups of all purpose flour. Here I was thinking, Whoa, Chuck..100% hydration for this..your crazy! But, this goes back to my idea of no knead, where you only use 3 cups of flour. Chuck however adds another 2 1/2 to 3 cups of whole wheat flour once the AP flour has been absorbed. Phew..not so crazy after all.

Everything sits in a bowl for 45 minutes (my no knead sits 14-18 hours), before being dumped into greased bread pans and left to bake in a 375 degree oven for 50 minutes.

The dumping of bread into the pans wasn't as easy as Chuck made it appear. The dough is easy to degas, especially with all that yeast in play, so I didn't exactly divide the dough equally. Luckily, even with my bad dividing skills, the loaves baked up nicely. At the last minute I decided to top one with sesame and the other with sugar. The taste? With such a short rise period, it doesn't develop the taste you would normally get in a no knead, but part of that is made up with the extra ingredients. I had so much bread baked this week so the loaf didn't get sliced up for a day. I'm sure it would taste great fresh out of the oven, as it makes fantastic toast. The hardy bread holds up nicely to peanut butter, jam, honey, marmalade etc. Definitely easy, and even though you rarely find bread on a cooking show, I don't know if I'll have a spot for Chuck's recipe in my repertoire.

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