Made the Roast Honey Plum Pork aka Irresistible Baked Pork again for dinner tonight. Don't they looked sinfully delicious? Especially when you bite into the juicy meat with the non-oily fats, that feeling is really indescribable...lol...
But no, this is not my new challenge.
My new challenge is this - No Knead Bread.
I came upon this from Steamy Kitchen early this morning. After seeing the handsome Andrew doing the bread, I was immediately sold (who can resist his smile?). My baking spark was rekindled (as if it was ever put off in the first place). I just had to give this a try! Imagine, a bread that needs no kneading! Sounds like a perfect experiment to me (who have yet to master the kneading skills) although I must say rustic bread was never my cup of tea.
I decided to blog this progressively as I am trying out this new challenge. So you'll see this blog entry being updated as time goes by, until the whole process completes. Are you getting as excited as me?
But first, I need to backtrack a little to what have been done earlier on. I've used half of the recipe as I wasn't sure if it's going to be successful, it looks challenging enough! Partly also because I'm not sure how the kids will take the bread. I don't want to end up having to eat this alone for the rest of the next 5 days!
No Knead Bread
1.5 cups (225g) bread flour
1/8 tsp instant yeast
1/2 tsp (2g) salt
3/4 cup (167g) warm water
1. Mix all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
2. Add the warm water and mix into a dough using a spoon. You'll get a sticky wet dough like this.
3. Wrap a cling wrap over the bowl and leave it on the table top for 12 hrs.
Time to take a look at the dough. This is how it looks like, with lots of small little holes. Hmmm...mine looks quite wet, compared to Steamy Kitchen. Could it be the lighting? (Trying to find excuse...)
Next is the challenging part.
4. Prepare a HEAVILY floured working top, a bowl of water (for wetting your hands) and some extra bread flour for dusting. Using a spatula to help you, remove the dough from the bowl onto the working top. (Pardon the poor picture as this was taken under yellow lighting.)
5. With wet hands (so that the dough does not stick to your hand), grab the dough from all sides and fold them towards the centre. Make sure you wet your hands when dough starts to stick to them. This is very tricky as the dough is very soft and wet.
6. Turn the dough over so that you get a nice, smooth, tight surface. Try to tuck the dough ends under to get that taut surface.
I don't think I've done a good job for this. My dough was wobbly all the way. So in the end I could only manage this.
7. Gently move dough onto a floured towel. Cover and let it proof for 2 hours. It should puff up nicely and double in size.
I did not use a towel. Instead I took a large piece of cling wrap, floured both sides of it and place it into a tall bowl. Then transfer the dough into the cling wrap and cover it loosely.
I've been checking every half an hour. The dough doesn't seem to rise much. :( So I decided to put the whole bowl of dough on top of my lukewarm kettle, hoping to speed up the process as it is already 11:00pm now.
8. Half an hour before the full 2 hr proofing period, put a covered pot (for baking the bread) into the oven to heat up at 230°C for at least 30 mins.
Important: Ensure the pot you're using (including its handle, knob and any other parts) can withstand such high heat. You don't want to end up having a melting pot in your oven! I used my Vision Glass pot.
I've decided to let my bread proof a little longer, that's why I've delayed the time to start the heating of the pot.
After some "heat proofing", the dough seemed to have risen a little, though not as tall as I wanted it to be. But it seemed quite firm to my touch.
I decided it's time for the last lapse - the baking. Another challenge, how to transfer the dough into the hot pot?
9. Remove the pot from the oven carefully. Put a piece of baking paper into the pot to prevent the bread from sticking. Gently drop the wobbly dough into the hot pot. It does not matter if the dough lands messy (messy creates a rustic look after the bread is baked). Shake pot a bit to even out the dough.
I had a "chaotic" moment dropping the dough. Perhaps I should have take my time to remove it into a greased bowl before dropping it into the pot. Imagine this, you have a piping hot pot. Your dough is halfway in the pot. Part of it is still stuck to the wrap...arrrgghhh... You frantically reach for a fork to try to scrape the remaining dough into pot.
After much struggling, I finally got the whole dough into the pot, only to realise that there were big patches of thick flour stuck to it! I must have dusted the wrap "too generously". :(
I had no time to pick those up. I reckoned I should be able to brush them off after the bread is baked? So i went ahead and pop the whole covered pot back into the oven and waited anticipatedly.
10. Bake in covered pot at 230°C for 30 minutes.
Time's up. I went to open the oven door to remove the cover from the pot. See the ugly patches?
11. Remove cover from pot and continue baking for another 15-20 mins.
28 Mar 8:30am
This is my final ugly loaf after I've cleaned off the extra flour.
The bread is chewy. There is a rather nice fragrance as you bite and chew slowly into the crust. But there are still lots to improve on, so I won't consider this challenge to be successful. Besides the shaping & extra flour, I also need to take care not to deflate the dough when transferring to the hot pot.
I like the texture of the bread, especially the crust, to try it once more. This time I'm going to try to do it MY way and see if it works. I hope this time I'll have a better and taller loaf --> my goal.