This is it, my final no knead bread before having to return the book to the library. I thought I was going to be sad about it. In fact, I had been searching to buy a used copy online because I think it would be a great reference. Plus, I wanted to continue my quest to make a new bread every week to 10 days, rather than shell out the $$ to buy a loaf at the store.
Initially, I thought it was me but after making three different loaves, I'm convinced the recipes are good, but not the best.
I started with Peasant Style Pot Bread, probably the best of the three I made from this book. It was like eye candy. Beautiful to look and the scent that filled my home was wonderful. It But like some eye candy, it lacked depth. It had good, if slightly salty flavor. Not as good as the almost no knead bread.
The second was the French walnut bread. Not sure what made it French but I loved the use of walnuts. This bread was good but still not great. In fact, it was not as good as some nut breads I've purchased at the store. A negative for me was the difficulty in stirring the nuts into the dough before the 2nd rise. The nuts were not evenly distributed, and ultimately I believe this affected the loaf.
For my final hurrah (3 week limit at the library) I chose the buttermilk pot style bread because the picture was stunning. Light colored bread flecked with coarse salt, it was perfection. That should have been my tip off. You see, the picture and the description of the recipe did not jive, namely, the recipe said to bake the bread until it was deep brown. The picture of it was not even close to deep brown, it was more like the color of corn bread but slightly lighter. Once again, I had difficulty stirring in the buttermilk powder after the 1st rise. In fact, I had to use my hands to knead it in. I thought this was no knead bread! It was nearly impossible to stir in the powder. I mostly got it in but where it didn't, after it was baked, there were small yellow chunks, almost like the consistency of yolk in the hard boiled egg, on the softer side.
The loaf was not as light and as airy as I thought it would be. It was a little dense and soft. I would skip the coarse salt. It makes the bread look great BUT where you get a bit of coarse salt, you also get a large dose of saltiness. Not good. So after a few days, I picked off all the salt and that helped. It makes really great toast.
I recommend checking out the book at your local library, and trying some of the recipes. Start with a simple one just to gain your confidence and to realize how little work is required to make bread. I learned a lot. I continue to make bread every 10 days or so. Until Cook's Illustrated makes another no knead or almost knead bread, I'll continue with their original recipe. Love it.