Monday, January 2, 2012

Un-kneaded Six-Fold French Bread

Well, even Hamelman has an un-kneaded or no-knead bread. Although with six folds, it almost seemed like I was kneading the dough. And it is worth noting that Hamelman's book came out two years before the no-knead revolution started by Jim Lahey and Mark Bittman. Still, no-knead breads have been around in one form or another for decades. There is a no-knead roll that was in the original 1931 edition of Joy of Cooking. This is not meant to diminish the work of Lahey and Bittman in refining and popularizing the technique. Indeed, there are numerous differences between Hamelman bread (notably the six folds) and Lahey's. And Lahey has a book loaded with variations.

There was nothing particularly difficult with this recipe apart from being tied to the kitchen in order to make the folds every thirty minutes. The dough produced was quite slack. I handled this quite gingerly when forming the loaves. And following Hamelman's suggestion, I used some of the dough to make pizza.

This produced a lovely rustic, ciabatta-like loaf with a very open crumb. This is a nice loaf for a paninis. And, as promised, the pizzas had a good, chewy crust. This is a recipe worth keeping.

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