Kitchen Competence: The Update

This is the result.

Last night I took care of the last steps to prepare this dough to bake. I kneaded it one last time — very sticky stuff, I had to use a dishrag to get my hands clean — and I set the dough into a pot to rise overnight in the fridge, as per the King Arthur Flour directions for their No-Knead Harvest Bread, which was one of the recipes I was taking as a model. This morning, when I went to make the coffee, I took the pot out of the fridge and set it on the counter to come up to room temperature (or closer to). When I was back home after taking my daughter to school, I did as King Arthur said: I put the pot, covered, in a cold oven, turned the oven to 450 degrees, and baked it for 45 minutes, after which point I took off the lid. I baked until it registered 205 on a thermometer (actually, it said 206°) and then I tried to get it out of the pot.

Well, here, we ran into trouble. This thing did not want to leave its house. It was a like taking a cat to the vet. “I know what’s happening next, and I don’t like it, and I’m staying here.” In the end I had to take a plastic knife and shove it all around the edge of the bread to separate it from the pot, and when I turned the pot over to shake out the bread, it came out, but, as you can see, it left the bottom crust of the bread behind in the pot.

So this isn’t a complete success. It’s not a very handsome product. However, it occurred to me immediately that this bread would make a fabulous stuffing, and so if we don’t want to eat a mangled, ugly loaf of cranberry-sunflower seed bread, we will happily consume it alongside a roasted chicken.

I’m now eating a slice of this bread with some butter. It’s pretty good. I think the solution to baking this is one of two things: 1. line the bottom of the baking pot with parchment paper, don’t just rely on the pot being greased to do the trick; or, two, bake it as a messily-shaped loaf on a big cooky sheet, again with parchment underneath it. Because I can already tell this is worth making again, even if I messed it up this time.


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