Making Mark Bittman’s No Knead Bread made me realize that 1. my server closet is a great bread proofing oven, and 2. my sous vide oven is an even better bread proofing box! The recipe is pretty simple — I didn’t even bother to turn the messy dough onto a work surface. It’s just patience and a lot of letting the dough do the work itself.
Perfect crumb too.
I’ve since made this bread with some roasted garlic I had around the kitchen, or diced olives. Both were delicious.
Recipe adapted from Mark Bittman’s No Knead Bread recipe in The New York Times.In case you’re struggling with this recipe, I discovered that the yeast matters.
Here’s two batches that I made, side by side. On the left, I used dry yeast that I just purchased. On the right, dry yeast that had been in my cabinet since 2008 . Other than the yeast, both batches are identical: 3 cups flour, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp yeast, 1.5 cups water. Stir to combine, cover with plastic wrap, and leave it to rise.
Here are the same two batches after 18 hours of rising, sitting in my nice warm computer closet. I didn’t realize that sealed dry activated yeast aged over time, but this is clear as day. The dough using the fresher yeast is almost twice the size, with the texture like marshmallow or whipped cream. The dough made from the old yeast looks like a slightly inflated ball of dough. What a difference! Here’s the final loaves.
The fresh yeast produced a lightly, fluffier crumb, as well as a more round, bready shape.