New York Times No-Knead Sourdough
Thanks to Andrew of Spittoon Extra for hosting "Waiter, There's Something in My...Bread" and spurring me on to finally work this recipe out. Any of you who follow the foodie world even a little will remember Jim Lahey's New York Times No-Knead Bread recipe that was published a couple months ago. It's the simplest thing in the world; the secret to great bread, it turns out is not work but time. It's one of those culinary miracles.
Thing is, it calls for store-bought dry yeast. For most of you out there, that's a boon, it means you don't have to go through the trouble of having a sourdough starter in order to make great bread. For me though, my bread starter and I go way back, I couldn't abandon it. So, I set out to apply some of the No-Knead Bread Recipe genius to the sourdough process I learned from Nancy Silverton.
Here's what I found out:
1. You really DON'T have to knead your very wet and sticky dough! I was a skeptic but it's true.
2. No shaping the dough by stretching it into a tight ball since the sides of the Dutch oven hold its boule shape perfectly.
3. Baking your risen dough inside a Dutch oven within your regular oven is the #1 way to get a great crust without schpritzing the oven with water in the 1st 5 minutes of cooking.
4. No need to score the risen dough before baking; it opens itself up in the (double) oven.
5. The New York Times suggestion that the bread should rise at 70F for 12-18 hours is unworkable for my sourdough. I've spent lo these many months fighting the stickiness factor caused by the heat and have eaten way too many sad-looking New York Times No-Knead Flatbreads as a result. I'm with Nancy Silverton on this one: Rise, then refrigerate!
Here's my adaptation to the New York Times No-Knead Bread recipe for sourdough
2 1/2 cups sourdough starter
3 cups high-gluten flour
2 tablespoons salt
Mix ingredients together just until you have a smooth, lump-free dough. Place in a floured proofing basket. Place that into a puffed plastic bag. Close the bag making sure it's full of enough air that the rising dough won't stick to the plastic. Let rest at room temperature until doubled in bulk (about 5 hours) place in the fridge overnight (12 hours). Pre-heat oven WITH DUTCH OVEN INSIDE for at least 45 minutes at the highest heat possible (my oven does 500F). Music to bake sourdough by: While Light, White Heat by the hottest band nobody'd ever heard of while they were still together, The Velvet Underground!! Take Dutch oven out of the oven carefully, remove lid and place a piece of parchment paper at the bottom (best to have measured this first) Pour out the dough and quickly close the lid and return everything to the oven. Bake at highest temp for 30 minutes then remove lid. The bred should be puffed and cracked at the top. Reduce heat to 400F. Another 15-30 minutes more and the bread is ready to take out of the oven and place on a cooling rack.
On top of the above revelations, the crumb is extremely elastic and I get much bigger holes (see image) than I used to with the regular method.