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no knead revisted ... on a ship

MarineEngineer's picture

I made the no knead bread, at sea, for me and my colleagues. Taste was brilliant, but results were inconsistent. I'm blaming the flour. We had one brand of flour, and the bread was turning up flat. But got some "Gold Medal" brand flour, and the rise was excellent. But the flour ran out, and, returning to the other brand ... pretty flat.

what can I do to compensate for the inferior flour, to get it to rise? I used less liquid, more yeast, higher rising temps, lower rising temps ... no luck.

I made the recipe at home ... unbelievable. I use the Cooks Illustrated modifications (beer, vinegar) though at home, since I'm not a beer drinker, I use a shot of bourbon instead. The bread I made on Tuesday was amazing ... my friends are still raving about it.

How do I solve the problem of the flatbread on the ship? The pot that I cook it in isn't great, but I'm limited by what I have available. Any ideas?

Cheers
Jonathan

nutcakes's picture

(post #65215, reply #1 of 8)

If you isolated it to flour (I would have first thought yeast was the issue) then the one thing I can think of is that you are using a lower protein "softer" flour. What is the 'other' flour brand, perhaps we can compare the protein content. Gold Medal is 10.5% off the top of my head, but I might be wrong, I'd have to look it up.

You can add some gluten if you can find it where you are, or can pack it for next time. If it is lower protein flour, then that will be good for biscuits and pastry.

MarineEngineer's picture

(post #65215, reply #2 of 8)

I don't know what the other flour brand was. It had some unrecognizable name, and most of the package was printed in Arabic. We normally provision in Fujairah, UAE, but due to our schedule had to take provisions once in Zeebrugge, Belgium, where we got the Gold Medal flour (much more expensive taking provisions in Europe than UAE, so they only ordered minimal stuff).

Just wondering, if I find myself with bread that won't rise too much, can I take countermeasures that don't involve a trip to a supermarket: more yeast, more/less liquid, more/less time, etc. I added some barley, which tasted great, but didn't help with the rise.

Jonathan

Gary's picture

(post #65215, reply #3 of 8)

Sounds like you have a low-protein flour. The gluten structure isn't strong enough to trap air. I'm assuming you are doing everything else exactly the same. Try this: grab a handful of the flour and squeeze it in your hand. Does it clump together a lot, a little or not at all? Bread flour should have a slight brownish color, feel coarse to the touch, and will not hold a clump when squeezed. Compare it to the Gold Medal if you can.

The people who gave us golf and called it a game are the same people who gave us bag pipes and called it music and haggis and called it food.

The people who gave us golf and called it a game are the same people who gave us bag pipes and called it music and haggis and called it food.

MarineEngineer's picture

(post #65215, reply #4 of 8)

next time I'm on the ship I will.

sanderson's picture

(post #65215, reply #5 of 8)

If protein is the issue, I'd take a shot at adding egg whites. If you're using dried egg whites try adding a T per pound of flour. If you have fresh eggs add one egg white to the water you start the yeast in letting the white contribute to the liquid volume.

MarineEngineer's picture

(post #65215, reply #6 of 8)

egg whites ... that is something that I can try. Don't return to the ship until around Christmas time, though ... so time will tell.

Gary's picture

(post #65215, reply #7 of 8)

That won't work. The idea is that the proteins need to form a mesh that entraps the carbon dioxide generated by the yeast. Eggs won't form a mesh unless their whipped. I don't think adding a meringue is going to solve the problem.

The people who gave us golf and called it a game are the same people who gave us bag pipes and called it music and haggis and called it food.

The people who gave us golf and called it a game are the same people who gave us bag pipes and called it music and haggis and called it food.

sanderson's picture

(post #65215, reply #8 of 8)

I think if you give the egg white tip a try you'll find it works. It's an easy way to up the protein in low protein flour. The meshing (aka denaturing) you refer to happens in the kneading. What you are doing is making more of the long protein molecules available to make into mesh.