Thursday, January 24, 2013

Artisan bread in camp

After reading an article at the forum this week, I was inspired to bake a batch of no-knead bread. As one who's invested in the traditional view of kneading dough, I've avoided no-knead bread until now. I studied the picture with interest. The rustic crust appeared typical of artisan bread. The open crumb, complete with large holes, impressed me. And the bread was baked in a Dutch oven, a definite benefit for 'Round the Chuckbox.

An Internet search led me to Michael Rhulman's story of his conversion to no-knead bread. I followed a link to Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, the popular website operated by Dr. Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francios. Once I located the page titled, "Back to Basics ~ tips and techniques to create a great loaf in 5 minutes a day," I quickly saw potential for great bread in camp.

As I see it, you'd mix the master recipe for artisan bread at home, then place the large container of dough inside the refrigerator. Next pack the dough into the ice chest. Once in camp, you bake a fresh load of artisan bread each night in a cast iron Dutch oven. With little effort or mess, you'll have fresh bread on the table each night.

I will post the results over the weekend. The batch that I mixed this morning is fermenting in the refrigerator until Saturday. My main interest is to see how the bread behaves inside the Dutch oven. Since I've baked a lot of bread in Dutch ovens, I'm confident of success.

To prepare the dough, I mixed 32 ounces bread flour, nearly 27 ounces warm water, 1 tablespoon instant yeast and 4 teaspoons kosher salt inside an eight-quart Cambro container. I plan to take the bread to a soup and bread potluck on Sunday afternoon at a friend's house.

After a two-hour ferment on the counter, the dough doubled in size, from approximately two to four quarts. It will ferment in the refrigerator for 48 hours before I bake four or five loaves in a 14-inch deep-style Dutch oven. With only four ingredients (flour, water, yeast and salt), the long ferment dramatically improves the flavor of the loaf.

1 comment:

  1. I've been baking a no-knead dutch oven artisan bread 3 or 4 times a week for the last couple of years. I can't mess it up. No matter what I change up in it, it always comes out perfect. It has become my standard.