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Oct 11, 2007 12:38 AM

Bittman's KNB-I must be stupid!

Sooo...I was all excited ya ya ya.
I had lovely bubbles and nice gluten pull from the sides of the bowl. I used flour and my silpat for the 2nd rise. I did the fold overs and from there it pretty much flattened out, but it did puff up more than expected during baking. I let it rise for 3 hours. I used my beloved antique enameled cast iron pre heated dutch oven. I considered baking it on the silpat in the preheated pot for about 3.5 seconds, but didn't want to throw of the preheated pot thing. Well, it STUCK. Big time STUCK. I didn't use the bran and not too much flour on the outside. Mainly because I read something about not adding too much flour to mess with the high water count/flour ratio. I managed to cut pieces out and the crust seemed strangely tough and the bread tasted faintly of sourdough. Does that sound familiar?
Anyway, should I use more flour or bran for the outside? Tell me where I went wrong!!


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  1. I used corn meal on the outside (more than I thought was necessary) and there was no issue with sticking. I wiped off some of the corn meal and ended up with a fantastic loaf of bread. Good luck with your second effort.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jnk

      I've used corn meal and bran but like the corn meal better. Never sticks

    2. I never use extra flour or bran or corn or anything, but haven't had a problem with sticking (I use a LC enameled cast iron pot). Could it be that you didn't cook it long enough?

      If it helps, I heat the oven to 250C with the pot inside, then when I take out the pot to put the dough in, I place it on a hot burner (electric stove), dump in the dough, cover, and into the oven for about 40-45 minutes. Then I take off the cover and give it 15 or 20 minutes more. I find that the longer covered time keeps it from getting too dark outside while cooking through inside.

      I hope it goes better next time!

      1. I had the sticking problem the sixth or seventh time I made it, and I am pretty sure the reason was that I didn't allow the dutch oven to preheat with the oven-- in other words, I put the dough into a cold dutch oven. Yes, the cornmeal is also essential, but preheating the dutch oven is essential, too.

        1. Make sure your pot is hot, hot, hot before you add the dough, and that it is well-floured on the side that will be on the bottom of the pan.

          When mixing the dough and at the folding stage you don't want too much flour to water (will upset the balance of sugars the yeast can feed on, and you could end up with pockets of dry flour) but at the baking stage it provides a protective barrier, and any excess can be brushed off after baking.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Olivia

            I concur in all of Olivia's comments. The crust can be a little tough. (But crusty.) The thing that puzzles me is the sourdough taste you're getting. Because it seems like 3 hours would not be enough time for that to develop. Did you let it rise for a total of 3 hours? Or am I misinterpreting your post?

            1. re: kary

              The first rise was for 23 hours and then the 2nd for a full 3 hours. It had a faint sour taste, but I thought it was good. I had to cut it into four chunks to be able to scrape it from the pan. It wasn't going anywhere!

              Thanks for all the great tips.

          2. I've only made it once so far but used only the bread flour. I put a round of parchment paperdown in the bottom of the pot first and it didn't stick at all.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Eric in NJ

              The parchment idea is brilliant. Because I have used either flour or cornmeal and it got pretty dark.

              1. re: kary

                Well I can't take the credit for it I read it in the recipe I found on this site.

              2. re: Eric in NJ

                Did you put the parchment in while you were pre-heating the pan or after?

                1. re: Mattkn

                  After. I took out the pot put in the parchment and dumped in the dough. The onlt place I had a sticking problem was with the towel on the last rise. I don't think I used enough flour.