Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Jim Lahey’s No Knead Baguette (Stecca)


This is from Jaden Hair's blog Steamy Kitchen and the original recipe, I believe, is from here. Christmas is just around the corner, I have no money to squander on shopping and I already have ginger cake, caramel cookies, Ourson Guimauve (chocolate covered marshmallow bears), a box of Crema Catalana and some French pralines lying around. Since everyone else is busy with Christmas preparations and their families, I have nothing better to do than bake or watch reruns of 'Wallander' in Swedish with English subtitles - so what am I going to do?

Bake something savoury!

This was pretty interesting because it was like making a fake sourdough starter and when I woke-up in the morning my sticky ball of dough had swelled up pretty high, had completely lost its shape and I saw a horizon of bubbly exquisitely soft dough sitting inside my plastic bowl. I guess I should have taken a photo of this, but I didn't want my yeast to catch a cold because it's pretty cold indoors in Spain in the winter and so I went right ahead and folded it three times as Jaden instructed and put the dough (which firmed-up nicely) into a clean oiled plastic container for its second rise. I used a spatula instead of wet hands though. It's a technique Ronny uses when making his sourdough bread, which has a much sticker and softer dough than the kind I make.

Did I mention it's been raining pretty heavily here?

Costa del Sol does not have the infrastructure for heavy rain, so when it does rain, it's wise to avoid going outdoors to avoid the floods. Let's not even mention all those careless drivers who do not have rain tires who skid around on the wet streets. Some of these cars used to have tires that could handle the rain, but they're in bad need of getting new tires and they haven't done this because the economy isn't good and the Mediterranean Carpe Diem culture does not entail spending your money on 'safety' first, because it's not really a fun way to spend your money.

To add insult to injury it's Christmas season, so you see - money gets spent on presents and feasting rather than on new tires and it's pretty damn dangerous going outside in the rain here.

Anyway being a glutton I threw caution to the wind and hiked to Torremolinos to buy supplies and took the taxi back as my backpack was laden with kilos of food. It was worthwhile though because I managed to find some pretty nice green olives* at the grocer.

I wasn't too keen on oiling my oven paper, so I dusted it with corn flour instead. After all, the dough was already swimming in extra virgin olive oil during its second rise. Thing is, the oil that I painted the sides of the plastic bowl seems to have drizzled down to create a pool on my dough. Next time I'm going to be careful about using as little oil as possible when 'oiling the sides of the bowl'.

Everything went as Jaden said. The dough was soft and stretchy and I laid them out and embedded them with the goodies and sprinkled them with 'Sal en Escamas' (salt flakes) then...I realized my oven's highest setting was 250C when the recipe called for 260C (500F). Oh well. Next time I buy an oven, I guess I'll just have to buy a better one.

Anyhow they went in and I set the timer on for 15 minutes first to see how they were doing and baked them for a total of 30 minutes. We had these for brunch with some Brie cheese and they were delicious!

I delivered two of the loaves to our neighbor when they were still fresh out of the oven and said 'Feliz Navidad' to them and was rewarded with the lovely smiles on their faces.

*Green olives with pits in them. They come in these plastic containers with yellow handles and I have only ever seen them sold in olive producing countries like Spain. I prefer these to the canned or bottled varieties which you can get in any part of the world these days. I of course removed the pits before I embedded them into my Stecca.

18 comments:

Natashya Kitchen Puppies said...

They look wonderful! I got that email from JH too and have been lusting over the loaves. I also have Lahey's book on my wishlist, so I am glad his stuff turns out so well.
Actually, I am pretty hungry... pass me a chunk?

Anncoo said...

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year ;D

Taste of Beirut said...

I have never attempted to make baguettes before; figured that was a skill I would leave to the French; now I am intrigued by these. Interesting post!

Murasaki Shikibu said...

Natashya: To be perfectly honest, these are good, but they are more like the models of the food world. I think you get what I mean. ;)

Anncoo: Merry Christmas! :)

Taste of Beirut: These aren't really baguettes. They are...I don't know what they are, but they sure look good on the table if you want to wow your guests.

Lori said...

I saw these on there and they sure were captivating. I have been thinking about them.

Happy Holidays to you and your husband!

♥peachkins♥ said...

Those baguettes are beautiful! Merry Christmas!

Natalie said...

These look beautfiul !... Merry Christmas M !...hope you guys have a wonderful time..!

Elra said...

Wonderful bread.

Merry Christmas and Happy new Year! Much joy and sweetness to you and your family!

Girl Japan: April Marie said...

Your bread making is fabulous. I wanted to wish you a Happy Holiday and Happy New year if you celebrate it...

Cheers Darling...

Anncoo said...

Hello Murasaki,
Happy New year and wishing you & your family all the best for the coming year.

Dorte said...

Those baguettes look delicious ...
I guess I have something to look forward to next week when I get to Costa del Sol with all that rain :-)
Happy holidays!

ShaquanaDancy said...

happy new year............................................................

Taste of Beirut said...

Coucou! How is it going?
I have brought back with me from lebanon some goodies that I am giving away, if interested!

Taste of Beirut said...

Hello! I wanted to answer your question about my raffle of Lebanese goodies; sure I am planning to send it anywhere in the world, provided the country allows it!

Jamie said...

What wonderful bread! It reminds me of a cross between baguette and focaccia. And I love the satisfaction of homemade bread, don't you?

And I haven't wished you a Happy Happy New Year, good health and all good things! Hope all is well!

Deeba PAB said...

GORGEOUS...what a neat and moreish loaf this is! Is the recipe on the link? I'd love to make this...
Happy 2010 dear girl! {HUGS}

打扮 said...

Hello~happy new year............................................................

Trish said...

Hey, I haven't been very faithful at visiting my dear friends....life is toooo busy. How are you? SEems you have been busy too, as I don't see you here. TAke care friend.