New York Times No-Knead Bread (Modified)
Reasons for modification:
1. Ambient temperature in my region is between 26 – 32 degC. Relative humidity averages at 80%.
2. The 1kg pack organic unbleached flour that I use is light and airy. Even with 12% protein, my measurement of 3 cups flour may not pack in enough gluten and starch to withstand long proving. I suspect the NYT 3-cup measurement of flour weighs more than mine.
3. My toaster oven is too tiny to accommodate the cover of my stone baking pot. Thus I have to simulate steam-baking by adding a water tray at the bottom of the oven.
4. I am not skilled (yet) to flip the final dough into the pre-heated pot. So I do my final prove on a baking sheet, and drag the sheet with the dough into the pot. This variation allows me to score the dough as explained later.
5. There is no technical reason for this modification, but dill, olive, onion (DOO), wheat germ, and flaxmeal are added for extra flavor and fiber, without compromising the texture and bounce.
6. Because I add olive and onion, I need to fold the dough a few more times to embed the ingredient evenly.
The following is the result of several trials (no less than 17). Hope my explanation encourages you to press on till your achieve your desired result, and perhaps venture into new flavors too!
4x15ml tbs organic 12% protein flour
2x15ml tbs wholegrain rye flour (for a more aromatic loaf, replaceable with flour if you don’t have this)
2x15ml tbs wholegrain oat flour (for a more aromatic loaf, replaceable with flour if you don’t have this)
1/8 tsp instant yeast
70ml warm water (body temperature)
Stir into a smooth paste. Cover and set aside for 6 – 12hrs (or 12 – 18 hrs in cooler climate). Smells like a good beer!
Dough hydration is about 97%.
3x250ml cups organic 12% protein flour
1/4 tsp instant yeast (see notes on how to modify yeast quantity with proving time at the end)
2-1/2 tsp rock or sea salt
1x15ml tbs dried dill tips (or dried coriander herb)
2x15ml tbs organic wheat germ (optional)
2x15ml tbs organic flaxmeal (ground flaxsee, optional)
310 ml warm water (body temperature)
Optional Flavor (Dill-Olive-Onion, “DOO”):
15 medium sliced black olives
1/2 cup fried shallots (small red onions)
dill is incorporated in the main dough
1) Add main dough dry ingredient into a large bowl. Stir lightly with a butter knife or spoon to mix evenly.
2) Pour half the water into the pre-dough. Stir lightly to break down the clumps.
3) Pour (2) into (1). Then add the rest of the water, saving about 30ml. Stir to incorporate all the dry ingredient. If the dough is too dry to do so, add the remaining water gradually. The dough should be sticky and lumpy but not flowy. Hydration is about 73%. Cover and let the dough stand for 5hrs*.
4) See the following illustration.
5) After step 4c – during the last 30min proving, preheat the oven, stone baking pot (or cast iron baking pot) , and a shallow tray for water bath to 250degC. 5min before scoring the dough in step 4d, steam the oven by pouring one cup of boiling water into the water tray.
6) Watch the following video for step 4c to the end.
* Ideal Proving Time – the maximum time to prove the dough before it becomes “tired”. A dough is tired when the yeast starts digesting the gluten structure and the volume starts to shrink. If you have a large oven that maintains a good initial temperature of 250degC during loading of the dough, it can still revive the dough to produce a good rise. If not, a tired dough will generally produce a flatter and denser loaf. Experiment the amount of yeast versus ideal proving time by measuring the height of the dough hourly. Use a clear container with straight sides for ease of measurement. The longer the proving time, the richer the flavor of the loaf. However, you may be constrained by time and would like to increase the yeast accordingly.
My experiment (with 1/4, 1/2, 2, and 3 tsp of yeast) shows a roughly linear relation. You may want to plot a similar graph for your own baking environment.