The Jan/Feb 2008 issue of Cook’s Illustrated has a recipe for No-Knead Bread 2.0. Morgana left a comment last week about this, and she was kind enough to type up the recipe changes, thank you! I started making the bread last night, and happily my copy of the magazine reached me today just before I was ready to slip it into the oven.
Cook’s Illustrated takes on the problem with the no-knead bread lacking flavor that this type of bread usually gets from using a fermented starter. They use a little vinegar and a little beer substituted in the wet ingredients, and it works. My loaf came out tasting really yummy (we’ve eaten nearly all of it and it hasn’t cooled all the way yet). I liked the previous bread just fine, but this had that little bit of tang that fills out the flavor of the interior next to flavor of the crust.
They suggest doing the second rise in parchment and lifting the parchment into the heated pot when you’re ready to bake. (This is a technique I know I’d read people doing previously as well.) I was a bit afraid that the parchment would burn where it stuck out from the lid of the pot, but it was just browned. I forgot to use a cooking oil spray on my parchment before I put the dough on it and it was just fine, the bread won’t stick after it’s baked. The magazine suggests doing the second rise in a skillet, but I did in a large, fairly wide bowl like I usually do. It worked fine and I didn’t have to worry about the bread rising up and touching the plastic wrap and I also didn’t have to worry about coating anything with flour or cooking oil spray.
They also have new recommendations for newly available inexpensive dutch ovens (I think the red Chefmate pots have finally, actually disappeared from Target stores). They give thumbs up to Tramontina 6.5 Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven that is around $40, and the Lodge 6 Quart enameled cast iron that is about $50.
Looks like the Tramontina is available at Walmart I’ve seen the Tramontina pots at Target, and the Lodge can be found on Amazon in Caribbean blue, Island Spice red and Cafe.
This issue is a good one for big cast iron pots, in addition to the no-knead bread they have recipes for French Chicken in a Pot and French Onion Soup, and an article on mastering the art of stewing.
Scott gave me a subscription to Cook’s Illustrated last year at Christmas and it has proven to be a fantastic gift with benefits – he gets to eat the new things I cook. I highly recommend giving (or adding to your wishlist) Cook’s Illustrated magazine, or their sister magazine with color photos Cook’s Country. The online membership would also make a fantastic gift – you get access to all the info in the last 15 years of magazines as well as the updated equipment and ingredients ratings.