talk of the town
I haven't posted in over a month which is a shanda. I have had so much to share (most of which I've forgotten,) but precious little time with which to share it.
Let's get right to the topic of the hour (two weeks ago:) Mark Bittman's No-Knead Bread recipe in the New York Times. The food bloggers have been all over this and even though I don't read any food blogs (and I'm pretty sure most of you don't either) I should share my thoughts. First, forget the recipe. Bittman's great, but despite being "The Minimalist" this recipe is much more wordy than it needs to be. Instead watch the video of the guy who actually came up with the recipe. Have you watched it yet? The bread is really that simple; mix ingredients, wait 18-24 hours, sprinkle with wheat or oat germ, throw in hot pot and bake. The other steps bittman would have you do are unnecessary. Oh, and another thing only use 1 1/2 C of water, like the baker says. The recipe measurement 1 5/8 C of water produces a very wet and sticky bread.
Using a very heavy pot with a good fitting lid is important when making the bread. Creating the perfect loaf was a good excuse for getting a Le Creuset 5-Qt. Oval Dutch Oven in Sonoma Blue. Don't fret, I didn't pay nearly that much for it. I got mine at T.J.Maxx, which sells these and other cast iron w/ ceramic enamel pots for much cheaper than retail. You can probably find one there for as little as $20. I highly recommend having one. It turns out my 5qt size is a little big for the bread recipe. A round 3qt one would probably be the perfect size. I should probably just double the recipe the next time I make the bread.
As I write this I have a whole chicken smoking in the backyard. Today has been unseasonably warm so I thought breaking out the grill would be a good idea. I'm using hickory and the 4 1/2 lbs. chicken has smoking for 2 1/2 hours so far. I think 3 or 3 1/2 hours should do the trick. I think I'm going to make cornbread and grill some asparagus to round out the meal. Time to get to work.