No [k]need Bread making

Everyone now loves baking. Not baking that’s enjoyable and relaxing, undertaken for its own sake with the kids because cakes are yummy and the house smells great but instead shouty competition baking with stress and deadlines where you have to try and beat everyone else and be judged because internal validation only comes with external judgement.
Masterchef has already ruined cookery enough for me (in fairness I accidentally saw John Torode make a schnitzel and it inspired me to set up a production line of Cotolette a.ka. "elephant ears", originally [italian] breaded veal cutlets fried in butter, americanised with chicken i make mine with turkey, so it’s not all bad).

and now the Great British Bake Off takes a gentle pastime and makes you want to vomit on the floor if your thing doesn’t rise or something. At least Paul Hollywood now seems like a reasonable person, I remember him nightmarishly from the Men Behaving Badly cookery spoof ‘Use your Loaf with James Martin’ (for which I thankfully cannot find a single photo).
Against this background I ran out of bread on Saturday and decided to bake my own. Enter Mark Bittmann’s Speedy no Knead bread recipe. This had apparently taken the world by storm in 2008 (meaning some enclave of New York), I must have been looking the other way that day. As he’s a king of quick recipes it was a no-brainer and something easy to do with the little people. So flour water yeast was thrown about the kitchen with abandon as I tried to find imperial to metric conversions. Porridge oats and wholemeal flour were stirred in as I can’t help fiddling with recipes. The dough was left on a radiator and four hours later was covered with a wet tea towel and nuked for 25 seconds with a 5 minute gap as advised by faster easier no Knead bread. Another hour and it was tipped into a parchment paper lined Dutch Oven (nice one USA) with a lid. Into a cold oven turned to max, 30 minutes lid on and then 30 minutes lid off.
Success ! sort of…I liked it a lot; chewy, tasty, sourdough-y but lovely wife pulled a face as it was bit flat, not much rise, so I blamed the additional ingredients and/or the ambient temperature. Also pointed out following another google search that the wholewheat version should be made in a loaf pan. My uncle liked it despite unkindly suggesting that it blunted the bread knife.
Next morning I herded the cats [organised the children] again to make a white flour version, left it on the radiator and went out. Came back and found it had fallen off and was oozing along the floor so 15 minutes wasted and 2 tea towels ruined trying to scoop it up (started to think it would be easier to make normal bread and just knead the bloody thing).

As there was only half a bowl I threw in some flour yeast water and left it somewhere really warm and it bubbled up like a monster; in your face accurate baking! It came out flat again (oven’s fault) lovely wife attacked as soon as I turned it out (she likes warm white bread with lots of butter & jam). My mother polished off half the loaf over dinner. And so I shall continue; ignoring recipes, adding ingredients and not watching Great British Bake Off (or Paul Hollywood’s Bread just in case i get a Use Your Loaf flashback)

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Recipes, Lifestyle