Wednesday, November 22, 2006

my baby's all grown up

The hardest thing about Jim Lahey's no-knead bread -- the recipe that's taken the food blog world by storm in the past few weeks -- is that it's not about instant gratification. You're looking at about a 24-hour turnaround period between mixing your dough and taking your finished bread out of the oven. But oh, oh, the payoff. I can't believe this came out of my kitchen. Seriously.

Here's my dough at the beginning, in its initial sticky, shaggy stage:

And after 18 hours of fermentation, it's alive and kickin':

I wish I'd gotten a picture of how stretchy and stringy the dough was when I inverted that bowl to drop it onto my work surface. That was some serious gluten! Here it is after turning it over on itself a couple times and left to rest briefly before the final rise:

And, here we are, ready for the final 2-hour rise. I had read on Chowhound that some people were having problems with this very slack dough sticking to their floured towels, so I went nuts with the flour and cornmeal. I had no problems with sticking, luckily.

And after two hours, it's ready to go into the oven:

Success! Here's Mark listening to the crust crackle as the bread cools. It sounds a bit like a bowl of Rice Krispies, or perhaps like a crackling fire:

Let's have a closer look, shall we? This is the most beautiful bread that's ever come from my kitchen. I didn't think it was possible to do this kind of bread at home. Jim Lahey, you are a genius!

And the final test, of course: Let's take a look at the crumb structure. Gorgeous, no?

If I'm not careful, we'll eat this whole loaf tonight. Who needs dinner?


Anonymous Mark said...

Tara is not exaggerating. This is the best homemade bread I have ever eaten. To get bread this good without this recipe, you not only need to go to a really good bakery or restaurant, you also need to get there just as it's coming out of the oven. That's how good this bread is.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I haven't seen bread that lusty since my last trip to France!

6:21 PM  
Blogger Lisa B. said...

Okay, I actually said, "oh my god!" at the crumb structure picture. I will figure out how to make this bread, come hell or high water.

10:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That looks so good, and I swear I can smell it! Yum!

8:44 AM  
Anonymous vinnie said...

oh crap this bread is good! i'm visiting tara and mark and tara made this delicious bread. i think the three of us ate the whole loaf with dinner.

9:38 PM  
Blogger tara said...

We did, in fact, demolish that whole loaf with dinner! I think I'm going to add olives and rosemary to the next one I make. I also might try some whole-wheat flour.

4:28 PM  

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