The Bread Life

"Give us our daily bread."
"Bread is the staff of life."
"Man shall not eat by bread alone."
"I know on which side my bread is buttered."

We've all heard the above quotes throughout our lifetimes, and they are a just a sliver of what's been said about bread for centuries.


The good life: Buttermilk honey bread. (Kim O'Donnel)

As a kid, I grew up on bagged white bread, or as Julia Child wrote in 1974, "the cellophaned Kleenex sold at the supermarket."

I was a stranger to the stuff of a "homemade loaf, crusty, crumbly and a succor for the eater." So were my schoolmates. Bread was from a bag at the store. I remember my brothers taking those bendable, Gumby-like slices out of the bag and rolling them into balls -- and then pelleting them at their sister. Ouch.

Like many of my generation, I tasted homemade bread for the first time in Europe. Still, to me, it continued to be something you bought outside of the home. It was not something you'd make yourself.

In the mid-1990s, before I decided on cooking school, I had a boyfriend who loved to make bread. I remember taking the Metro up Connecticut Avenue to a cookware store where he bought a loaf pan. In spite of attempts to become a better cook, I remember thinking how bread making was beyond my skills. I was afraid and still thought it otherwordly. So I stayed away and let him knead in solitude. (I'll get back to that a bit later.)

Yet my lurking fascination with bread continued. In early 1995, Firehook Bakery, the Alexandria, Va.-based company known for its artisan breads, was opening a store in Dupont Circle, and I applied for a job to work behind the counter. In the next year-plus, I ate homemade loaves nearly every day. I got to appreciate crumb and texture, crust and bite, and shared my spawning enthusiasm with the customers. Still, I was a bread-making virgin.

Cooking school changed all that, and I remember that day in bread class, listening to the instructor on activating yeast until foamy and knead your dough until it's soft like a baby's bottom. I was terrified. I could blacken fish and reduce a sauce, but this bread baking stuff required feeling and involvement. Yikes.

Let's just say that I was off to a lousy start. I knew it, my instructor told me as much, and I ignored this culinary part of me for as long as possible. Even while studying in Italy, I avoided the bread-phobic side of me and screwed up every batch of dough I touched.

I don't know exactly when things turned around, but once I let go of my fear of failure, my bread started to resemble something other than cement. It had flavor, it could be sliced.

With that first edible loaf, I stopped being an outsider. I was now participating in breadmaking, and that, I realized, was the missing link. Bread starts out as dough, a mixture of yeast, water, flour, salt, at its most basic level. It is a living organism, and it needs you, the baker, to be its steward, its guide, to transform into a loaf.

In the five years that yoga has been a part of my life, I have noticed a difference in my bread baking. As a full participant in the process of kneading, rising and shaping dough, I have experienced breadmaking as meditation. Just as I tune out the world and day's events when I step onto my yoga mat, so too I go inward when making bread. It happened yesterday afternoon, around dusk, and it was just me and my dough, ignoring the sirens, the headlines, e-mail.

Now I have two loaves. I will slice one for sandwiches and for breakast toast, and I will give away the other loaf so someone else can experience the gift of homemade bread.

Peter Reinhart, author of several bread books and bread apostle, wrote: "This is bread, the consolidation of all that is harvestable and all that is good about life on this earth. "

Several years on this bread quest, I now understand what he means.


Buttermilk Honey Bread
From "The Bread Bible" by Beth Hensperger

Ingredients

¾ cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
1 tablespoon (or 1 envelope) active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 ½ cups buttermilk, warmed just to take off the chill (alternatively, brought up to room temperature)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon salt
6-6 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I used a combination of high-gluten bread flour and AP flour)
Rich egg glaze: 1 egg, beaten, with 1 tablespoon milk or cream

Method
Pour warm water into a small bowl. Sprinkle yeast and sugar over the surface of the water. Stir to combine and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. You may cover with a dish towel.

In a large bowl (or in the work bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment), add buttermilk, butter, honey and yeast mixture, and stir to combine. Add salt and 2 cups flour. Beat hard to combine. Add remaining flour, ½ cup at a time, beating with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula after each addition, until a shaggy dough is formed.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead about 5 minutes, until dough is smooth and satiny, dusting with flour only 1 tablespoon at a time as needed to prevent sticking.

(If kneading by machine, switch from paddle to dough hook and knead for 3-4 minutes, or until dough is smooth and springy.)

Place dough in a greased bowl. Turn dough once to grease the top and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until double in bulk, 60-75 minutes.

Gently deflate dough with your fist. Turn dough out on a lightly floured work surface. Grease two 9-by-5 -inch loaf pans or a baking sheet for freestyle round loaves. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise until fully doubled in bulk, 30-45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush top of loaves with egg glaze. Put pans on the center rack of the oven and bake about 45 minutes, or until loaves are brown, pull away from sides and sound hollow when tapped with your finger.

Remove loaves immediately to a cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing.

Makes 2 9x5 pan loaves or 2 freestyle round loaves.

By Kim ODonnel |  January 9, 2007; 11:00 AM ET Bread
Previous: A Mighty Appetite Recipe Index | Next: Breakfast Breadcrumbs

Comments

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Kim, have you heard about/tried the no knead bread recipe that was in the NY Times? or something like that. I want to try the recipe but I don't think I have a vessel big enough to bake it. I'd be interested to see what you think.

Posted by: No knead bread | January 9, 2007 12:05 PM

I've made the NYT no-knead bread a couple of times, and it is awesome! It does take a little time (rises overnight), but it's totally worth it. I didn't have the right size pot either, but the largest Pyrex casserole pot I have (3 or 4 quarts, I think) was large enough.

Posted by: Troylet | January 9, 2007 12:17 PM

My mother used to bake bread at Christmas to give as gifts and she would struggle to find a warm enough place in our drafty house so the bread would rise. Now I realize she was really struggling with unreliable yeast. The new "instant" yeasts have made the home baker's life much easier. I buy mine at the warehouse club but because instant yeast works well in bread machines it has become much easier to find. The only "tricks" with instant yeast are to mix it into the other dry ingredients and to use hot liquid (120-130 degrees F.) Here is my adaptation of a James Beard recipe that makes an easy white loaf fairly quickly because it doesn't have to rise in a bowl first. Beard's original recipe calls for butter. I use olive oil.

Italian Feather Bread
4 to 6 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
5 teaspoons instant yeast
1/3 cup olive oil
1 3/4 cups very hot water (120-130 degrees F.)
1 beaten egg white for a glaze
In a large bowl mix together 4 cups of flour, salt, yeast and olive oil. Stir in the water until a sticky mass forms. Turn out onto a floured board. (Don't worry, the dough will stablize in the next step.) Using a spatula or bench knife, knead in another cup or so of flour. Knead for 2 to 4 minutes until a smooth ball forms. Let rest for 10 minutes covered with the bowl. After the dough has rested knead it again briefly to work out any bubbles. Divide the ball of dough in half and form into free form loaves. (I usually just make one large loaf) Place on a greased baking sheet, cover with wax paper or tea towel and let rise for about 45 minutes or until doubled. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Slash the risen loaves in two or three places using a very sharp knife and brush the loaves with the beaten egg white. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes or until golden brown. (I bake mine on a preheated pizza stone, rising the loaf on a baker's peel sprinkle with cornmeal.) The bread is best eaten the day it is made. It doesn't keep well but does freeze well.

Posted by: Meg K. | January 9, 2007 12:27 PM

That NYT article changed my life, and that of several other family members. Near zero effort, no special tools or ingredients, and amazing, amazing bread.

For those who missed the article, here is my transcription...

3 C all purpose or bread flour (I used the all purpose)
1/4 t dry "instant" yeast (I used the regular stuff from Trader Joes- about 1/3 of the normal packet is enough)
1 1/4 t salt

1. Combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 Cwater and blend. Cover with a plastic wrap and let rest 18-24 hours atroom temperature.

2. Coat work surface with flour and plopdough on it. Sprinkle some flour on dough and fold it over itself once or twice. It will be runny and sticky and hard to deal with- don'tworry. Cover with loose plastic and let rest 15 minutes.

3. Shape dough into a loose ball using just enough flour tokeep it from sticking to work surface or fingers. GENEROUSLY coat a cotton dish cloth with flour, and plop the bread onto the cloth. Sprinkle more flour on top of dough and cover with another dish cloth. Let rise 2 hours, dough will double in size.

4. Preheat oven to 450 with the 6-8 quart cast iron or LeCreuset pot inside (with lid). When oven is at 450, remove pot from oven and plop dough into it. Some might stick to the cloth- justscrape most of it off into the pot. Get it kind of even in the bottom of the pot by shaking and tipping it. Cover the pot again, and return to the oven. After 30 minutes, remove top. After 20 minutes, removepot from oven and plop bread onto a drying rack. Let cool 15 minutes and dig in.

Posted by: PatapscoMike | January 9, 2007 12:33 PM

Could someone please post, or email me at form4[at]totheweb.com, the NYT no-knead bread recipe? I read the article about it a few months ago but it didn't contain enough information to actually make it. I have been making bread for the past 6 months using my grandmother's sourdough starter which I got from my mom. It's been kept alive in my family for at least 80 years. I find baking bread a very satisfying activity.

Thanks,
Barry
San Mateo, CA

Posted by: Barry B. | January 9, 2007 12:46 PM

I tried that NY Times "No Knead bread" several times and I agree, it's the best, (particularly given the little work you must do). I make mine in a Calphalon Dutch Oven, so try any moderately heavy pot with a lid.

Posted by: Bready Rich | January 9, 2007 1:04 PM

Kim,

I totally agree with you on the "living" aspect of bread. What I love about baking the bread is the process and how this organism-yeast-interacts with ingredients and the environment to produce such a wonderful, essential foodstuff. It really is a meditation.

Posted by: cew5x | January 9, 2007 2:08 PM

You asked in your chat if anyone had made the NY Times No-Knead bread, but I missed the chat. I have made it, but I will point out that it is extremely sensitive. My trying-to-be-helpful hubby picked it up to look at it and dropped the pan a little to disruptively. The dough completely fell and never rose again. When it comes out, it is gorgeous, flavorful bread. But you must be careful with it. Also, there's something to be said for being able to whip up a loaf of bread without 24 hours advance notice.

Posted by: Kate | January 9, 2007 2:18 PM

I've made the no-knead bread twice now and was disappointed both times. I may try once more--I think the bread was a little undercooked last time--but I was very disappointed compared to my trusty kneaded bread recipes. Kim, this particular one looks great!

Posted by: Gretchen | January 9, 2007 2:34 PM

I have made the NY Times bread also and was blown away by it. I have a second batch rising right now. The slow rise over a 12 - 20 hour period helps develop the flavor. You bake it in a Dutch oven or pyrex container which traps the steam, like a traditional bread oven (as I understand it.) You take the cover off for the last 20 minutes or so of baking which generates an incredible browned crust. The results are amazing. And I think the timing of everything is forgiving, so you can integrate it into your day. (Kim's yoga concepts help here.) If you want to try the recipe, you should watch the video that accompanied it on the NYTimes site. It really shows how easy the process is. And lastly, a few weeks after the original column and recipe ran, Bittman published another column with variations based on his readers' feedback. Happy breadbaking, everyone.

Posted by: Karen | January 9, 2007 2:45 PM

I have been an amateur baker for a while, and have had better loaves than others, but I was BLOWN AWAY by the NY Times bread. Simple, no knead, and easy-peasy baking. I actually baked my first loaf in the ceramic insert of our slow-cooker with aluminum foil for the lid. My Sicilian mother-in-law was visiting, and literally BEGGED me to cut the loaf before it was even cool. I am now a bread hero! I'm gifting these loaves everywhere, and even put the recipe on my holiday letter.
I've tried it with variations - wheat, pumpernickel, every time it's great! A trick - try baking your own favorite loaf in the hot-pot method they describe, and you'll get a crusty, tasty loaf every time!
Suddenly, I'm a master baker...
I'll have to try out this recipe from today. Sounds good!
-M & C

Posted by: M & C | January 9, 2007 3:23 PM

Kim:

Could you make this bread recipe with whole wheat flour?

Posted by: Holly | January 9, 2007 3:37 PM

I missed the chat this week, but was struck by a thought that actually goes quite nicely with the bread thread from the blog today. The Mardi Gras partier should consider a king cake instead of beignets -- the King Arthur Flour Company usually has an ingredients kit available in time for Mardi Gras, and they almost certainly have a recipe on their site. Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Posted by: Mel | January 9, 2007 3:44 PM

Kim,

I've recently been diagnosed with endometriosis & therefore have been told to avoid both wheat and rye. Any suggestions on what I can do to make a wheat-free bread? I find bread the hardest thing to give up/the thing I miss the most!

Thanks.

Posted by: LN | January 9, 2007 3:53 PM

Boy, I guess I'm the lone dissenter here; I was not totally happy with the results of the NY times recipe. It certainly is easy and produces good results given the minimal (work) time and effort involved. But I was disappointed by the crumb. It has no 'tug' or chewiness, which I crave in my bread. The crust is gorgeous and the crumb is nice and holey, but the texture is a bit cakey for my tastes.

I really don't mean to knock it; especially for bread virgins or those who've been frustrated by their past efforts at traditional bread,it's a great product. But for those of us who've been baking for a while with good results, it might be good but not the best.

Am I the only one who noticed this about the crumb?

Posted by: Samantha | January 9, 2007 5:00 PM

To Samantha and others who may have had less than fabulous results with the NYT recipe. I make about one loaf a day with this recipe, and and the family loves the 'tooth' or chewiness and the hard crust. Can't wait to cut into it! Never had a 'cakey' loaf in about 50 or more times using this recipe. I have found that although forgiving, the recipe works best with bread flour (not all-purpose or whole wheat which result in a more dense heavy loaf). Also fresh yeast, a warmish house where the dough can rise nicely enough to see lots of small bubbles after waiting overnight (15-24 hours at 70 degrees ambient temp works for me). There is cult-like following for this recipe/technique for a reason. When the recipe works right, the bread should be chewy, the crust crunchy and satisfying to tear off with your teeth. If your results are disappointing, then try a different brand or type of flour, leave the rising dough in a warmer place, different yeast, heavier lidded pot etc. This is a fairly simplistic recipe-perhaps there is something environmental that prevents good results. My family is Italian and very picky about their bread, and they now prefer this to the Semolina from the Italian bakery and my bread machine bread. This is the only bread I'll bake from now on!

Posted by: angie | January 9, 2007 6:35 PM

Another NYT No-Knead bread fan here. I've made it about 15 times (with bread flour, in a 68-degree house, with a first rise as long as 24 hours) and have had nothing but good results. I've found the recipe to be very forgiving. I usually use a little more yeast than the recipe calls for - a quarter heaping teaspoon, I'd call it. The only thing that would make it better is if it was a tad more flavorful, and I've wondered if some sort of sourdough starter might develop the flavor....?

Posted by: Katherine | January 9, 2007 6:52 PM

Actually, we found thec NYT no-knead recipe extremely forgiving, extremely accomodating of loosely defined ingredients and my nine-year old daughter has been making it twice each week. Things we've added: Oatmeal, honey, non-sweetened dried coconut, dark sugar from Mauritius. We're casual about when we stir it, casual about the exact timing and bake it in a regular loaf pan with a tight heavy-duty foil tent. It's really great.

Posted by: Cook | January 9, 2007 8:48 PM

My best friend had great success with the NYT?Sullivan St. recipe and has highlights + the recipe posted on her blog + Photos!

http://ifthebirdsknew.blogspot.com/2007/01/sullivan-street-bread-recipe.html#links

Posted by: maria in SF | January 9, 2007 9:06 PM

Off topic but... for the chat participant who wante a Mujadarrah recipe, Deborah Madison's "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone" has a really yummy version. Just rice, lentils, onion, olive oil, salt and lots of pepper. I don't know how it compares with the restaurant version though.

Posted by: Baltimore | January 10, 2007 8:56 AM

The links to the no-knead bread article on NY Times.
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/081mrex.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/08mini.html

And the recipe is so simple and the bread is awesome.... I have been experimenting on this bread quite a bit now - have topped with onions, hatch peppers, olives, walnuts, sun dried tomatoes, flax seeds, and even a dusting flour with freshly ground whole wheat, cumin and black peppers. I noticed the bread comes out better if the onions, peppers etc are not mixed with the dough, but instead added at the end - place them on the top or just press them in. The flavors are great...

I dont want to take superlatives, but this was the best and easiest bread recipe ever....

Also, anybody know how to leaven dough without store brought yeast??

Posted by: KN in Houston | January 10, 2007 8:58 AM

can one use whole wheat flour or whole wheat bread flour for the no knead? I saw one person said no, but others said it was forgiving. also, stirring flax seeds in, OK, or just press on top? I'd really like to know because I would like the whole grains/fiber in my diet. thanks.

Posted by: Alexandria | January 10, 2007 11:23 AM

found this on a blog and it answers most questions:

No-Knead Bread
Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1 1/2 hours plus 14 to 20 hours' rising

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Here is his fine-tuning followup from December 6th:


THE MINIMALIST; No Kneading, but Some Fine-Tuning
LAST month I wrote about Jim Lahey, the owner of Sullivan Street Bakery on West 47th Street in Manhattan, and his clever way to produce a European-style boule at home. Mr. Lahey's recipe calls for very little yeast, a wet dough, long rising times and baking in a closed, preheated pot. My results with Mr. Lahey's method have been beyond satisfying.

Happily, so have those of most readers. In the last few weeks Jim Lahey's recipe has been translated into German, baked in Togo, discussed on more than 200 blogs and written about in other newspapers. It has changed the lives (their words, not mine) of veteran and novice bakers. It has also generated enough questions to warrant further discussion here. The topics are more or less in the order of the quantity of inquiries.

WEIGHT VS. VOLUME -- The original recipe contained volume measures, but for those who prefer to use weight, here are the measurements: 430 grams of flour, 345 grams of water, 1 gram of yeast and 8 grams of salt. With experience, many people will stop measuring altogether and add just enough water to make the dough almost too wet to handle.

SALT -- Many people, me included, felt Mr. Lahey's bread was not salty enough. Yes, you can use more salt and it won't significantly affect the rising time. I've settled at just under a tablespoon.

YEAST -- Instant yeast, called for in the recipe, is also called rapid-rise yeast. But you can use whatever yeast you like. Active dry yeast can be used without proofing (soaking it to make sure it's active).

TIMING -- About 18 hours is the preferred initial rising time. Some readers have cut this to as little as eight hours and reported little difference. I have not had much luck with shorter times, but I have gone nearly 24 hours without a problem. Room temperature will affect the rising time, and so will the temperature of the water you add (I start with tepid). Like many other people, I'm eager to see what effect warmer weather will have. But to those who have moved the rising dough around the room trying to find the 70-degree sweet spot: please stop. Any normal room temperature is fine. Just wait until you see bubbles and well-developed gluten -- the long strands that cling to the sides of the bowl when you tilt it -- before proceeding.

THE SECOND RISE -- Mr. Lahey originally suggested one to two hours, but two to three is more like it, in my experience. (Ambient temperatures in the summer will probably knock this time down some.) Some readers almost entirely skipped this rise, shaping the dough after the first rise and letting it rest while the pot and oven preheat; this is worth trying, of course.

OTHER FLOURS -- Up to 30 percent whole-grain flour works consistently and well, and 50 percent whole-wheat is also excellent. At least one reader used 100 percent whole-wheat and reported ''great crust but somewhat inferior crumb,'' which sounds promising. I've kept rye, which is delicious but notoriously impossible to get to rise, to about 20 percent. There is room to experiment.

FLAVORINGS -- The best time to add caraway seeds, chopped olives, onions, cheese, walnuts, raisins or whatever other traditional bread flavorings you like is after you've mixed the dough. But it's not the only time; you can fold in ingredients before the second rising.

OTHER SHAPES -- Baguettes in fish steamers, rolls in muffin tins or classic loaves in loaf pans: if you can imagine it, and stay roughly within the pattern, it will work.

COVERING BETWEEN RISES -- A Silpat mat under the dough is a clever idea (not mine). Plastic wrap can be used as a top layer in place of a second towel.

THE POT -- The size matters, but not much. I have settled on a smaller pot than Mr. Lahey has, about three or four quarts. This produces a higher loaf, which many people prefer -- again, me included. I'm using cast iron. Readers have reported success with just about every available material. Note that the lid handles on Le Creuset pots can only withstand temperatures up to 400 degrees. So avoid using them, or remove the handle first.

BAKING -- You can increase the initial temperature to 500 degrees for more rapid browning, but be careful; I scorched a loaf containing whole-wheat flour by doing this. Yes, you can reduce the length of time the pot is covered to 20 minutes from 30, and then increase the time the loaf bakes uncovered. Most people have had a good experience baking for an additional 30 minutes once the pot is uncovered.

As these answers demonstrate, almost everything about Mr. Lahey's bread is flexible, within limits. As we experiment, we will have failures. (Like the time I stopped adding flour because the phone rang, and didn't realize it until 18 hours later. Even this, however, was reparable). This method is going to have people experimenting, and largely succeeding, until something better comes along. It may be quite a while.

Posted by: Jo | January 10, 2007 11:29 AM

Alexandria - I have been sprinkling flax seeds liberally on the top, but they dont stay on the bread, especially when you are slicing. But I just make sure to get all the seeds from the cutting board after slicing. You can also grind some a lot of flax seeds and some whole wheat in a coffee grinder and use that as the dusting flour, the bread becomes a little browner at the top. You could even mix the seeds with dough before the dropping into the oven.

Jo - Thanks for posting from the blog. Can you also post the blog's url? Also, I found that the bread was a little soft/soggy if moist bread toppings (like olives, onions, hatch peppers etc) were mixed early with the dough. Add them at the end and pressing them into the dough gave good results....

Posted by: KN in Houston | January 10, 2007 2:46 PM

sorry! meant to paste the URL. here it is

http://jonquil.livejournal.com/512441.html

Posted by: Jo | January 10, 2007 4:20 PM

Kim, I made the buttermilk bread two nights ago and it was absolutely fantastic. One of the best loaves of white bread I've ever had in my life! I don't find it too tangy--I just like buttermilk, I guess. Thanks for sharing a great recipe.

Posted by: Gretchen | January 11, 2007 4:34 PM

HI I just wanted to say that I was AMAZED at my results...and since that time I have tried with success other mutations of the original recipe: i.e. shorter first rise (15 h) longer second rise (3h) + adding 1 cup of whole wheat flour (makes a more solid loaf)or drizzling on olive oil and garlic for a foccaccia (with herbs). tonight I am going to try to add walnuts , cinn & raisins and I am also going to try Lavender & walnuts soon! It's really EASY DO NOT BE AFRAID because you can not screw up but remember if you are using a le creuset unscrew the top it will melt.....here is my blog post on it you can email me if you want or share your results i would LOVE IT! happy baking. (OH a silpat mat is great for the 15m & 3 hour rise) http://ifthebirdsknew.blogspot.com/search?q=sullivan+bread

Posted by: Amy Lou Stein | January 11, 2007 5:50 PM

Ok, I tried the NY Times bread, and it was tasty. I used an 8-qt All Clad Dutch oven, and the silly loaf of bread was STUCK to it. It took my husband and I quite a series of maneuvers to get that bread out.

Were we supposed to grease the pan? How did everyone else's loaf fare as far as sticking?

Posted by: CGN | January 15, 2007 5:52 PM

I used a ceramic, lidded pot and mine stuck too. Like superglue. I had to rip the loaf and chisel it out. not good. Maybe the iron is better? And maybe heating the pot as the recipe notes?

Posted by: LE | January 16, 2007 11:58 AM

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