Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hitting it Past the Ted Williams Chair

It's been five years since Mark Bittman published his no-knead bread recipe. It intrigued me the moment I read it. Imagine being able to bake artisan quality bread without the specialized oven? Sounds like heaven.

Why I never tried it, I can't say. I'm at a loss to explain my passive resistance. It's not for lack of proof. A friend of mine tried the recipe and raved. I have the key piece of equipment, a Le Creuset dutch oven. Was it foolish pride in all that kneading and rising and measuring and shaping? Maybe.

One reason was that no one in the family much liked rustic bread except me. That, however, has changed in the last few months. My daughter, the bread-o-phobe, has recently acquired a taste for Italian bread. She's actually eating sandwiches, which I thought I'd see the day that Rick Perry admitted global warming real and agreed to march in a gay pride parade.

For whatever reason, I finally tried the recipe today. The result: Wow. Amazing. Incredible. Some of the best bread I've ever had. And so easy.

I made a few minor rookie mistakes. My loaf came out a bit lopsided (my wife is away at a writing conference and has the camera, so I can't take a picture), and my baking time was just a little short, leaving the loaf a tad moist in the middle. Otherwise, not just a home run, but a grand slam 500 footer past the Ted Williams chair in Fenway Park (it marks the longest homer ever hit to right field).

All I can say is, try it. I'm already thinking of different recipes and shapes. The scales have fallen from eyes. It's a whole new world.

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