Tuesday, October 12, 2010

No Knead to Exagerrate

Hmmm...Remember in the spring, wen I was quite intrigued by the books Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, and Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes s Day? Well, not so much, anymore. At the time, I was willing to accept the books' premise: You could make perfectly good bread by stirring a few things together, and wait for it to rise WITH NO KNEADING.

Not anymore. I was making pumpkin pie brioche from Healthy Bread, and after nearly 2 hours, all I had was a dry-ish scraggly looling lump of dough that had not risen at all. Something told me to knead it, though the authors adamantly tell you in their books not to do so. What could it hurt? Kneading it would either improve it, or leave me with the same scraggly lump of dough. Still mindful of the authors' warning, I lightly kneaded for a minute or two, then covered it with plastic wrap. I swear I could see it start to rise immediately. I left it there for about half an hour, poked it. Rolled it out , spread with brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter...shaped it into cinnamon rolls....let them proof....popped them into the over for 20 minutes. These were awesome!

I have to admit, while I absolutely love cooking and baking, bread baking had never been my forte, so...these books seemed to cut out the middleman (kneading). The resulting flavor was OK, but kind of hard and dry if any more than 20 minutes out of the oven. And not much to look at, either. My loaves were higher than a cracker, but not as lofty as a full loaf of bread. As a result, I haven't made much more than pizza dough since spring.

After my kneading experiment, I had full, pillowy rolls that were still a nice, soft texture. I'm now a believer in kneading!

BUT -- to the artisans of the Bread in 5 Series....no 'knead' to exaggerate your techniques to sell a book.

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