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I have to defend Reinhardt's book as being useful for a newbie. I went from absolute zero to weekly bread baking in less than three months. I never thought I would be interested in home baking -- up until I starting using that book, I'd never had home-baked breads from anyone that I felt were better than a good professional bakery. I only picked it up because we moved to a place where it was hard to get decent ciabatta. Now I think mine competes with any big city bakery, and I will probably keep making it even after we return to urban living.

 

 

 

I like Reinhardt's book. I had no idea what I was doing before I read that book. Now my bread and pizza are better than all but the very best bakery's products.

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I just took a challah out of the oven, the first I've ever made using bread flour. All these years, I've had the notion that bread flour would produce a heartier, heavier bread than I like, and I've

Best loaf yet!

Close your eyes and think of Tuscany. 

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I made the no-knead bread from the NYT this weekend. My mother had made 2, and my 8.5 year old nephew made one yesterday. Big successes all around. Here's mine:

 

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This is the easiest recipe on earth. Mix yeast, water, salt flour. Leave it to rest 18 hours. Bake. No kneading.

 

Recipe is posted upthread a bit.

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Picture-perfect, Omni.

 

I am in possession of a bag of Anson Mills whole wheat flour that was part of the order mistakenly shipped to me. I wonder if I could use half bread flour and half whole wheat and come out with some.thing edible. I know that using all whole wheat won't work unless I want to turn flour into lead.

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Here is a list of no-knead topics from rec.food.sourdough.

 

This is a great technique for people who want to make a good loaf, but don't want to get married to the whole gestalt of baking bread. The guy from Sullivan Street and the NYT deserve credit for bringing an old technique to the fore. Baking in a hot pot mimics the use of a cloche, which keeps in the steam, and the towel is useful for handling the wet dough. The big limitation is the shape of the pot, but for this kind of rustic loaf, it's great. The recipe uses a small amount of commercial yeast. The long fermentation of the yeasted dough in bulk approximates the use of a biga, the Italian yeasted starter.

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Is everyone aware that there was a follow-up last week? With additional information and, thank goodness, weights for ingredients.

 

I have a question for you experienced bakers: I have some very old packets of yeast. I know some of each packet is still alive, having used it for pizza dough. But should I make adjustments for the fact that there is less to grow? When I tested some before using it, it took a good 20 minutes to do what it should have done in 10. Any suggestions will be appreciated.

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100% Sourdough New York Jewish Deli Rye

 

I don't know why all the formulae feel the need for the security blanket of commercial yeast. This time, the dough was constructed so that the starter would be made of light rye flour, and so that light rye would make up a total of 30% of the flour used, the rest being the first clear flour. I also added the nigella seeds this time, a teaspoon for 2 lbs. of dough, which give a nice bitter taste to the bread. The dough was not kneaded, was turned three times, formed and retarded overnight in the fridge. 60% hydration overall.

 

Mazal says this one is better than the first prototype, which followed the formula calling for commercial yeast. I agree. Taste is better and structure suffered not at all. I guess a few of us will have to get down to Katz's in the next day or so...

 

I have enough of the specialty flours left for one or two more loaves. Next I think will be with a white starter and maybe a little less rye, maybe 25%. It'll be interesting to see if there are any noticeable differences.

 

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I did increase the salt after reading Bittman's addendum. My mother used some rye flour, so did my nephew. My mother did one version with an egg added and some sugar - she said it was very good. Although she said it baked faster.

 

My dough did not double in size in the 2-hour second rise - in fact, I left it for 3 hours and it still didn't double. But the bread came out perfectly nonetheless.

 

My nephew used a bigger pot (circumference) than I did, and the bread came out flatter, but still perfect.

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Is everyone aware that there was a follow-up last week? With additional information and, thank goodness, weights for ingredients.

 

I have a question for you experienced bakers: I have some very old packets of yeast. I know some of each packet is still alive, having used it for pizza dough. But should I make adjustments for the fact that there is less to grow? When I tested some before using it, it took a good 20 minutes to do what it should have done in 10. Any suggestions will be appreciated.

 

Throw it out.

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Sigh. Okay -- you know far better than I.

 

Ferment it longer, just like you did with the pizza.

 

I don't see any reason to throw it out, just because half of your yeast isn't viable. Unless your culture is somehow contaminated, you are just starting out with fewer living yeast. It is not like we are professional bakers and need our recipes to be completely uniform.

 

I would be concerned if you were starting with a mixed culture, such as sourdough, but your packets of yeast should be all the same strain.

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Sigh. Okay -- you know far better than I.

 

Ferment it longer, just like you did with the pizza.

 

I don't see any reason to throw it out, just because half of your yeast isn't viable. Unless your culture is somehow contaminated, you are just starting out with fewer living yeast. It is not like we are professional bakers and need our recipes to be completely uniform.

 

I would be concerned if you were starting with a mixed culture, such as sourdough, but your packets of yeast should be all the same strain.

 

The fresher the yeast, the greater the activity. Why mess with degraded commercial yeast when its purpose is to provide an active rise?

 

What do you mean by "mixed culture" in regard to sourdough?

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What do you mean by "mixed culture" in regard to sourdough?

 

More than one strain of yeast, plus several strains of lactobacillus. I would imagine that some strains will survive stress better than others so the ratio may change over time, and the survivors may have accumulated mutations. As a microbiologist these sorts of things concern me.

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