Wednesday, November 08, 2006

mark bittman, i'd have thought you'd known better. . .

funny enough my stats are filled today with people searching for jim lahey's sullivan st. bread recipe vaguely detailed in mark bittman's article in the nytimes today.

now i normally like mark bittman, but he does have this one flaw -- he is so convinced that he knows everything that when he finds out something he doesn't know, he trumpets it to the world like a new discovery. how could something exist that he doesn't already know?

thus it must be brand-new. many culinary guys have this character issue, i find. . .not that i'm trying to be arrogant, or diss him, you know. bittman's a basically good guy.

but alas, mark: lahey's method isn't new, and it isn't going to revolutionize the baking industry. bittman knows nothing about bread baking it seems, and since i do have a lot of respect for him, it really pains me to inform him that suzanne dunaway wrote an entire book based on this very method called no need to knead.

dunaway ran for many years a successful california bakery, buona forchetta, using this pretty much this no-knead technique and many variations on it before she retired and turned to cookbook writing full time.

the baking of bread in a pot as bittman describes is as old as the ancient greeks, and was most famously returned to most bakers' radar by elizabeth david's english bread book in its first edition.

so it can hardly be called a revolutionary or new idea. if those readers who come to my site are interested in following up on bittman's article, i suggest they check out no need to knead.

i myself bake slow-rising, slack-dough bread like this all the time, but i prefer the crust the bread cloche gives. . .jes' my 2 cents. i disagree with bittman: i think it's a good thing to have.

anyway, i don't know if lahey ever heard of dunaway, but this is a technique that has been "discovered" many times; and i guess i'd have thought bittman would've done enough research to learn this for himself. but no: it's the ny times after all.

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posted by fortune | 6:11 PM | top | link to this | email this: | | | 5 comments