I made some very weird bread the other day. I used my usual French boule recipe from Julia Child (the one with all that unnecessary kneading, but I humored her anyway, rest her soul). Everything started out okay. But then, between doctor’s appointments and a wailing child, the timing wasn’t going to work out for baking it, so I punched it down (the dough, not the child) and put it for a second rise.
Well, one errand led to another and by the time we got back, the dough was threatening to proof itself right through the kitchen windows. By then, I needed bread-within-the-hour. There was no time to deflate it and let it rise again. Crap, I wondered, what would Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery do?
So, I grabbed my still-untested copy of the now-ubiquitous No-Knead Bread recipe. According to Step 4, he would dump it into a hot Dutch oven, cover with lid, and bake it at 425ºF. What the hell, I thought, there are no rules in bread-baking anymore. The results: a very weird loaf of bread. Ridiculously crusty. Short and stout. Chewy, springy, holey, but not in a good way. It was odd. It did not look like this.
Guess I shouldn’t have kneaded it, after all.
Note: This is not indicative of how the recipe would turn out if you followed more than just Step 4. One should always go through all the steps of a seemingly endless 4-step process, no matter how ridiculous they might seem at the time. And then blog about it at length.