Sunday, December 25, 2022

Christmas torture

My Christmas bread (essentially my no-knead bread) is just done baking, and the lovely, yeasty aroma that's been emanating from the oven is maddening. Voilà:

Not as dark as my usual bread, I realize. I didn't paint this with butter.

Imagine you're a tiny astronaut, and this is the planetary surface you're standing on.

As a loaf of regular no-knead bread (baked in a smaller square pan this time), the bread appears to be a success. But as you can see from some of the crater-like depressions, I was trying to see whether I could make this into a focaccia, and to that extent, it was a failure. 

Normally, for this no-knead bread, you plop the raw dough into a large, rectangular pan lined with parchment paper. The end result, after the dough spreads and gets baked, is a squat, roundish loaf. This time around, since I wanted to go the focaccia route, I poured an aggressive amount of olive oil into the pan (no parchment paper), and I coated the loaf's top with olive oil as well. Also, before the bread's final rise, I poked my clawed fingers into the dough to create the trademark depressions of focaccia. 

The bread rose; I then baked it according to the instructions for no-knead bread, finishing off with my top burner to brown the top of the loaf. No added salt or butter—just a generous sprinkling of black-sesame seeds. I'd worried that, as the bread rose in the oven, a lot of the olive oil might spill out, but it looks as though the dough absorbed the olive oil, leaving me with a fried-bread exterior, which is what you want with a focaccia. So: partial success?

NB: I also used 3 g of yeast instead of the recipe's recommended 1 g. That's probably why this bread smells so pleasantly yeasty. (Not that previous loaves haven't smelled yeasty!) The extra yeast may also account for the dough's robust rise.

The bread needs some time to cool down, during which time it might collapse a bit, which is what I'm hoping for. I assume it came out domed because the baking pan I used ended up being a tiny bit too small, forcing the bread to puff higher than it otherwise would have. In terms of smell, the bread is fantastic, but I'll have to wait until tomorrow afternoon to try it. With some butter, of course. I think this is going to be awesome, even as a failed focaccia.


Curtis S. said...

Merry Christmas Kevin!

Kevin Kim said...

Merry Christmas, Curtis!