Well, it started out okay...
Bread Flour, Whole Wheat Flour, Yeast and Salt
I had made a New York Times No Knead Bread a while back, but hadn't attempted one recently. If memory serves, the crust was perfect but the crumb (inside of the bread) was chewier than I preferred. I just hadn't gotten around to doing another one.
Seeing as we had the Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 Chinese New Year Cioppino post coming up, I got the crazy idea to make my own bread to go along with the cioppino. When I watched Chef John from Foodwishes.com make a No Knead Ciabatta Bread recipe a couple of weeks back , I thought this would make the perfect occasion to try doing No Knead Bread again. The whole appeal of this type of recipe is, it's simple enough for a non-baker like me to make at home without a lot of effort.
No Knead Bread Recipe
Adapted from Foodwishes.com
375 grams bread flour
120 grams whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups warm water
Mixing Flour, Salt, Yeast and Water for No Knead Bread
Covered it with foil and let it sit in the oven (at room temperature) for 18 hours. The dough was very bubbly, soft, wet, sticky, and "gluten strand-ified". So far, so good.
No Knead Dough After First Rise
Here's Where I Think it Went Wrong
According to the recipe, you're supposed to drizzle a little olive oil in a sheet pan and then sprinkle on lots of corn meal. I think I drizzled too much olive oil, and dumped on even more corn meal. Also, I think I didn't use the right kind of corn meal. This one was more like flour instead of the coarse, grainy type you see used for pizza dough recipes
No Knead Ciabatta Dough on Sheet Pan
I covered it with a clean towel and let it rest, forgetting that I was supposed to flour the top of the dough first. Two hours later, the towel was sticking to the dough and I had to carefully separate it like gauze from an oozing burn wound (ick!) Not pretty.
I put it in a 425*F oven for 35 minutes, with another pan of water on the bottom rack to create steam. Here's what it looked like when I pulled it out. I had high hopes.
No Knead Ciabatta Bread
After letting it cool down, I cut into it. Then I took a bite. Hmm...
Sliced No Knead Ciabatta Bread
Like the other no knead bread that I did, the crust was very nice, but the inside was kinda tough and chewy. In fact, the bottom of the bread seemed to be undercooked. I was not happy with the way the bread turned out, so I decided to not serve it for the cioppino dinner and went with bread done by professionals.
At dinner, Michael of Cooking for Engineers confirmed that he, too, was not impressed by the No Knead Bread recipe. He had made a dozen loaves as research for an article, but he ended up not writing it because he was not happy with his results. Carolyn the Food Gal encouraged him to write about his results anyway. We'll see.
I am not saying that the No Knead Bread recipe is bad. I'm certainly not blaming Chef John's recipe for my poor results. People all over seem to have success with the recipe. But going 0 for 2 makes it hard for me to consider another attempt.
Have you had success with the No Knead Bread recipe? I'd love to hear your experiences. Leave a comment and tell us about it!