“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.”

James Beard (1903-1985)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

BBD#38 - No-Knead Festival: Medieval Masteluin

Jim Lahey must be one of the most appreciated men in the world, at least in the bread world. Thousands of frustrated, hesitant or new bread bakers sighed in relief when he revealed a no-knead bread method that allowed many to overcome the kneading hurdle, a big step on the way to beautiful bread. The No-Knead method flies into the face of all baking lessons: no pushing and squeezing until the dough develops elasticity, no looking for opaque windows, no measuring temperatures or watch for overproofing.

The secret is, instead of using your own muscles, to let time do the work. Yeah, you read it right. Time, that one thing that we all have equally much of, 24 hours in a day. Briefly mix all the bread ingredients together until a wet, runny dough forms, put it into an oiled bowl, cover and let it rest overnight. The resting time will develop wonderful flavor, a beautiful gluten network and a lovely, crisp crust when baked.

Masteluin, an equal mix
of wheat and rye flours
For this round of Bread Baking Day, number #38, Cindy from Cindystar's blog invites us to bake a bread according to the no-knead method. If you've never used this method before, this is a great opportunity to try it out! Read more on Jim and his method here.

I chose a flour mix for a bread called masteluin, half rye, half wheat, that was traditional for Holland during the Middle Ages. Nowadays, it is still popular in Belgium, but homebakers in the Netherlands are slowly gaining new appreciation for this bread. Because rye has a tendency to rise less, the bubbles in the bread are not as pronounced as with wheat, but it's still delicious!

2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 cups of dark rye
1 1/2 cup of warm water
1/4 teaspoon of active dry yeast
2 teaspoons of salt

Mix the flours together, add the warm water and the yeast and stir together. Add the yeast, continue to stir the wet dough. Oil a bowl, scrape the dough into the bowl, turn it over and cover. Let it sit on the kitchen counter for at least two hours, fold it over and refrigerate overnight, or leave it on the counter.

The next morning, pull the dough from the fridge and let it come to room temperature. Fold the dough over once and shape it, if possible. The dough is very wet. Take a heavily floured towel, or a couche, and let the dough rest for its final rise, seam side up. Preheat the oven to 500F. Since the masteluin was traditionally baked on the oven floor, I used unglazed tiles on the middle shelf instead. Place a baking pan on the bottom shelf.

When the dough is ready to bake, roll it over on a floured cookie sheet. Open the oven door, score it if you want and slide the bread onto the hot tiles and close the door. Get four or five ice cubes, put them in the baking pan so that they provide steam for the bread, and close the door again.

Bake the bread in about twenty minutes. Remove it from the oven, and let it cool on a rack. The masteluin mix is fabulous for cheese and sandwich meats, and tastes great toasted.

1 comment:

  1. your bread is gorgepous, Nicole, and I learned an ancient flour mix I will try soon!
    thanks for participating, recap will be on line in a few hours but will email you then.
    have a nice week!